RANGERS and Scotland footballer Ally McCoist is among a host of leading figures whose achievements have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.
McCoist, who is made a MBE, is in distinguished sporting company.
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In the acting world, Sir Alec Guinness becomes a Companion of Honour, Diana Rigg becomes a Dame, and Richard Wilson, the Greenock-born star of TV's One Foot in the Grave, is made an OBE. Britain's Angela Lansbury, star of US series Murder She Wrote, becomes a CBE in the overseas list.
Songwriter Tim Rice and Simon Rattle, conductor and music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, both get knighthoods. Rock singer Phil Collins becomes a Lieutenant in the Royal Victorian Order for his charity work as a trustee of the Prince's Trust. Shetland fiddler Aly Bain is made a MBE.
McCoist was understandably thrilled. He said: ''I'm a whole jumble of emotions. I'm tremendously proud and very honoured at receiving this and, to be truthful, more than a little mystified at being chosen. Pleasantly surprised, I would say.
''When I look at previous sportsmen and women who have been honoured in this way, it puts me in very select, elite company and I feel very proud and also very humble at the same time.''
McCoist's honour will be welcomed by his many, many fans. He is a man of the people -- a charismatic, bubbly character who has left an indelible mark at Muirton Park (where St Johnstone used to play), Roker Park in Sunderland, and, of course, his beloved Ibrox Stadium.
Rangers top post-war scorer -- he still has a few goals to score before overtaking Bob McPhail's all-time record -- has also made his mark in the international arena, representing Scotland 46 times.
Last night, Scotland team manager Craig Brown said: ''Ally McCoist is a wonderful ambassador for Scottish football and this is a thoroughly merited award. I'd never rule him out of my Scotland plans and I think he loves the game so much he will be around for a while yet.''