BARCLAY McBAIN visits East Kilbride's Hunter High with its most

celebrated former pupil.

''OH! The place will be buzzing,'' said the secretary when I phoned

the office at Hunter High in East Kilbride to confirm that Ally McCoist,

Greatest Living Ranger and former school captain, would be along the

next day to renew old friendships and make new ones.

Buzzing? McCoistmania would have been a better description. Delight

shone from the faces of those who met their hero. Queues formed for

autographs. Answers to questions about his fitness, his family and the

form of his team mates were eagerly sought.

And that was just the teachers. Ally also signed pupils' ties,

jotters, any bit of paper to hand. He kissed the girls -- who vowed

never to wash their faces again.

Ally has a reputation for tardiness. Once, when Rangers' owner David

Murray had a wee dig at him for late arrival at a function, the bold boy

replied: ''Aw boss, it's the earliest I've been late this week.''

However we had an excuse as we arrived, behind schedule, at the Hunter

High office. We had been to nearby Maxwellton Primary, where he had

hanselled the new school strip. He told the pupils there: ''You have got

to do your studies, and stick in at school. My schooldays were some of

the happiest days of my life.'' He left to chants of ''Super Ally''.

But at Hunter High the former head prefect was still presented with a

punishment exercise for being late. He was still enjoying the joke as we

met the headteacher, Dr Richard Wardle, who has known Ally since he was

a paper boy delivering the Sundays to the heedie's parents' house. Ally

attended Hunter High from 1974 to 1979 and left with two Highers to

begin his illustrious career.

On our tour, he met up with one of his former teachers, Stuart

McClimens. In the second-year technical class, Ally recalled scoring

four goals and laying on the other in a cup tie which finished 5-5. But

he missed an easy chance near the end and that was what coach McClimens

remembered as he called his star striker a stumer after the game. Ally

told the story with relish. Which drew this testimonal from his old

coach as we left the class: ''How he is now is how he was in the

classroom . . . a con man!''

In the higher geography class John Berry presented his former pupil

with a record of assessment which, it must be said, had been tampered

with to include the following comments about the lad: ''Introvert; very

quiet; rotten singer; no sense of direction.''

Again he enjoyed the joke, and our question-and-answer session with

pupils, which he said he found easier than his Higher maths exam.

* Jeniffer Hutton: When did you become interested in football?

''When I started playing for the school team. I was lucky that it was

run by someone as knowledgeable and talented as Archie Robertson, my

chemistry teacher who played for Clyde then they won the Scottish Cup. I

was at school when I signed for St Johnstone.''

* Graeme Mullin (a Hamilton Academicals' signing): What did you learn

when you played for Sunderland?

''Your manager, Iain Munro, was a player when I was transferred there.

He was very good to me. With hindsight, I probably went too young. It

was a very expensive transfer and I didn't score as many goals as I

would have hoped, but I learned a lot.''

* Gary McGregor: Who were your heroes, and who are they now?

''Colin Stein and Derek Johnstone. Last season I managed to beat big

Derek's record . . . for eating pies at half time! Kenny Dalglish is

still my hero. One of my biggest thrills was playing with him for

Scotland. I remember going to watch Blackburn Rovers play Manchester

United last season. I met him in the corridor and he stopped to talk to

me. Believe it or not, I had butterflies!''

* Lynn Robertson: What do you think of school uniform?

''I'm a firm believer in it. When you wear it you're recognised as

part of a team, it's smart and it gets a bit of respect. Rangers are the

only club I know of in Britain which insists on the players wearing a

collar and tie to training. It's a wee bit classy and it shows you're

ready for business.''

* Lynn Davenport: What are you thinking when you come off the bench

and get the loudest cheer of the day?

''I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a big thrill. When I came on

against Dumbarton after my injury and I got a great cheer. I got a

bigger one because, with my first touch, I knocked the ball into the

Govan stand, which the fans found highly amusing!''

* Kevin McGee: What is your most memorable goal?

''The second against Leeds Utd in the European Cup last season. The

noise when we came on to the pitch at Ibrox in the first leg was

incredible, but there was silence after a minute's play. Leeds got a

corner and I was supposed to be standing on the 18-yard box, where Gary

McAllister hit a volley into the net. As he ran past he patted me on the

backside and said, 'What about that for a wee strike?' At Elland Road I

scored with a header and as I passed him I did the same and said, 'What

about that for a wee header?' He who laughs last laughs loudest.

* Claire Gilmour: Have you changed since you became famous?

''I'm not the best person to answer that, but I don't think fame has

gone to my head.''

* Craig Martin: Who's the toughest defender you've faced?

''In Scotland, Willie Miller and Alex McLeish. I've broken my nose

against both of them. Internationally, Franco Baresi of AC Milan. My job

is to have sweepers thinking about me, but when we played Italy at Ibrox

I was thinking about him. It's the only time that has happened.''

* Allison Anderson: Are relationships with players different at club

and international level?

''There's a great camaraderie in the Scotland team. The best lads are

people like Peter Grant of Celtic. He's a smashing fellow. He's as

Celtic as our boys are Rangers, and you have a respect for that.''

Mrs Anne Sutherland, head of guidance: About 14 years ago you were the

school captain. What do you think you'll be doing in 13 or 14 years'


''As you know I'm not a great planner. I just hope to be happy and

content, and I'm certainly that just now. I've been very fortunate in my

profession, but I don't see myself staying in management. I think I'll

be involved in the game in some capacity, dare I say in the media or in

coaching. I prefer coaching. I like working with boys rather than older

players. I'm probably the same mental age, actually!''

* Scott McDougall: Who's your favourite striking partner?

''Mark Hateley. The big man's very physical but he's also very quick

and talented. He makes things happen. Two years ago we scored 130 goals

between us. I don't think that record will be broken. Of course, I got

128 of them . . .''

* Nicola Borland: What's the worst thing you did at school?

''I can't remember doing that many bad things. My biggest regret was

failing my maths Higher. I passed English and chemistry, but I was

probably too lazy, didn't study hard enough, and took it for granted. It

still riles me.''

* Kevin McGee: Have you had offers from other clubs?

''A few years ago I could have moved to France, Germany, or a couple

of clubs in England but I was very happy where I was. Playing in Europe

intrigues me, but I think that's far outweighed by the pleasure I've had

in my 11 years at Ibrox. Football is very rewarding at the top level,

and most players make their money by transferring to other clubs,

through signing on fees and such like. I haven't done that, but I am

being rewarded by the club with a testimonial. Not many players get that

at Ibrox.''

Before he left his old school, Ally took time to sign yet more

autographs. One of the last was for a girl who -- rushing past Dr Wardle

with her coveted piece of paper -- said: ''Oh, sir, Ah love my school!''

* LAST WORD: To Mrs Sutherland's comment that he was ''laidback and

likeable'' and had remained loyal to his team and his school, Ally said:

''Loyalty is very important. The people at Hunter High were, and still

are, very good to me.''