EXCLUSIVE: Rangers coach Kenny McDowall tells Ian Black to focus on football

RANGERS assistant coach Kenny McDowall today urged Ian Black to stop complaining about the treatment he is being subjected to in the Irn-Bru Third Division.

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Rangers coach Kenny McDowall says he was a player similar in style to Ian Black
Rangers coach Kenny McDowall says he was a player similar in style to Ian Black

Black became the latest Gers player to speak out about the physical challenges – on and off the ball – he has suffered in the fourth tier at the weekend.

The midfielder branded his part-time rivals guilty of foul play as "cowardly" after his side's emphatic 6-2 win over East Stirlingshire at Ochilview on Saturday.

And he appealed to match officials to give Ibrox stars far greater protection than they have done so far during a turbulent 2012/13 campaign.

Clyde assistant boss Chic Charnley this week branded Black a "whinger" who is unable to take "what he dishes out himself".

And St Mirren legend McDowall – who describes himself as "an Ian Black type in my day" – reckons the Scotland international would be well advised to focus on his own game.

Because the hugely respected coach believes complaining will simply encourage rival players to target him for even more rough stuff in the future.

He said: "We speak to Blacky about this. And he is more than capable of looking after himself.

"I think a lot of it goes back to Blacky being Blacky. The bigger deal he makes of it the more they will target him. That is what these boys do at this level."

Black is not the first Rangers player to complain about the treatment the Glasgow giants have been receiving in the Third Division this season.

Goalkeeper Neil Alexander was scathing about the tackles he and his team-mates have suffered – without any punishment being administered – in the bottom level of senior football.

But East Stirling striker Paul Quinn defended part-time players against accusations of dirty play this week – and claimed Rangers players are being tackled late because they are full-time.

McDowall agrees with that assessment and reckons Black should concentrate on football, starting with the top-of-the-table showdown with Elgin City at Borough Briggs on Sunday.

Ally McCoist's side, who still have a game in hand, can open up a five-point lead at the top of the table with a win in Moray in the live televised clash this weekend.

McDowall added: "Paul Quinn said the boys are late in the tackles at this level because we move the ball so quickly.

"The thing to do is move the ball even quicker. That is what Blacky has got to do.

"Obviously he is looking for referees to give himself a wee bit more protection. I think he should just get on with playing football and stop worrying about it."

Meantime, David Templeton remains on the comeback trail from an ankle injury and hamstring tweak but the clash with Elgin is likely to come too soon for the winger.

McCoist told the Rangers website: "Temps has been back training and he's coming along nicely but I'm not sure about the weekend.

"It's getting to that point where I'm looking at the timescale but I know that his fitness is of paramount importance so we won't rush him back."

Defenders Ross Perry and Sebastien Faure are both recovering from hernia operations while Emilson Cribari has a muscle problem.

The manager added: "It's not ideal at the moment. Ross had a hernia operation this week and Sebastien is recovering from the same procedure.

"Emilson is still struggling with a grade one tear on the lower calf, at the top of his Achilles so we don't really have much in the way of good news in that area."

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