RANGERS returned to Hampden Park last Saturday for their first visit since March 2011 when goals from Steven Davis and Nikica Jelavic defeated Celtic 2-1 in that season’s Scottish League Cup Final.
That was then and Saturday’s 1-0 win over Queen’s Park courtesy of Fraser Aird’s injury-time winner is the present – but for Ally McCoist the win was just as important.
“I celebrated Fraser Aird’s goal just as much as I did with Nikica Jelavic’s strike back then,” said McCoist.
The Ibrox Boss – like everyone associated with Rangers – will be glad to see the back of 2012, but he did at least have the consolation of seeing the final game of the old year won with a spectacular counter in the final minute.
“I thought it was a terrific goal that won it for us – one worthy of winning any game - and obviously I was delighted to see the ball go in,” he added.
“We maybe didn’t play at our best today but credit must go to Queen’s Park for making it difficult for us. They worked very hard, even after they went down to ten men, and it looked as though it wasn’t going to be our day.
“What pleased me was we never gave up and we kept fighting until the final whistle.
“We made a couple of changes in the second half with Fran Sandaza and Fraser Aird going on and we created a number of chances but just couldn’t take them.
“I wondered if we would ever score - but the goal that won it was really good and I was delighted not just for Fraser but for the team.”
The closing stages were certainly nervy – with the home side threatening to cause a major upset by notching a winner against the run of play, as McCoist acknowledged.
“You have to have sympathy for Queen’s Park. We lost our shape late on in pursuit of a goal – we should have been more solid. We were caught out at times pushing forward,” he said.
At the end of the most trying year in the club’s history, Ally preferred to look forward rather than back.
“We’re on a wonderful journey. Every club’s welcome and hospitality have been fantastic – although that all stops when the whistle sounds,” he said.
“For the past couple of months we have been on a great run and we wanted to finish the year with another positive result.
“Yes our performance could have been better but we got the victory we were after and we now go into 2013 in a good position at the top of the league.
“That’s seven wins we’ve chalked up in December.”