Forget Xmas spirit ... Ally reckons it's the winning spirit at Ibrox

Ally McCoist believes that his players are beginning to develop a winning mentality ...

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Fraser Aird promotes the club's half-season ticket offer and is hoping to keep his place in team
Fraser Aird promotes the club's half-season ticket offer and is hoping to keep his place in team

as Rangers enter the territory of great teams of the past.

Their 100% record in League One now stretches to 15 games and even if the manager does not believe it will last for the entire season, the experience will prepare his squad for the demands of performing at a higher level.

The Ibrox support expects that every match is won, and players need the personality and attitude to be able to cope with that pressure.

As McCoist steadily builds his team for their likely return to the top-flight, he is trying to instil those characteristics in his players.

The squad mostly consists of youngsters who have come through the ranks at Ibrox and players signed from SPFL Premiership clubs, where the same demands of winning every match are not so significant.

McCoist is adamant that it will not be possible to keep the 100% record going until the end of the season, since some of the games, particularly away, have been tightly contested.

"I sense the players are getting a mentality that they quite enjoy winning games," McCoist said.

"It might sound stupid, but it's probably safe to say I don't think any of them will ever have been involved in a team who have played 18 or 19 games and won every one.

"So that is in itself something to be proud of. The longer it does go on, the more you want to keep it, that's a natural thing.

"I don't mind them talking about it as long as they don't get carried away and are realistic in their appraisal of the situation.

"I think it's great what they are doing, but hand on heart do I think we will go through the season and win every game? No I don't.

"Honest to God, I just don't think it will happen because of games like (today's trip to face Stenhousemuir).

"It's extremely difficult, no matter what league or opposition to win, win, win and just continue to win because naturally speaking, no matter what profession we're in, we'll all have an off-day somewhere along the line.

"We want to keep the run going as long as we can, and as long as it keeps going you'll keep asking those questions.

"We don't focus any further than the next game. Once you start doing that you take your eye off the ball. Are we capable of continuing to win games? Yeah, of course we are."

Rangers were comfortable 8-0 winners over Stenhousemuir at Ibrox in the league, but found them more awkward opponents in the Ramsdens Cup semi-final, winning only 1-0 and seeing the home side miss a clear chance when the score was still 0-0.

McCoist expects a testing encounter today, but there have been positive aspects to the team's play recently, not least the re-emergence of Fraser Aird.

The 18-year-old had to bide his time on the bench while Arnold Peralta and Lewis Macleod established themselves on either flank of Rangers' midfield, but he has impressed while starting three of the last four games, including scoring in last weekend's 3-0 win over Ayr United.

"He's come in and given us real energy, talent, goals, he's been a breath of fresh air," McCoist said. "A lot of the younger ones they don't maintain that level of consistency. He's taken a step back, regrouped and he looks really fresh and hungry.

"He has given everyone a lift. He's exactly what the other younger lads should be looking to as well, coming into the team, playing really well and effectively keeping out (Peralta) who is going to the World Cup. It's no mean achievement and he's done it on merit."

Aird accepted that he would have to spend some time on the sidelines after the summer saw a raft of new players join the club.

He did not become disheartened, though, and the reward for maintaining a good attitude was a return to the starting line-up.

"I am learning from all the boys the gaffer brought in, so I was just waiting for my time," Aird said.

"I knew there would be injuries and loss of form, so I knew I would get my chance at some point.

"Ally pulled me aside and told me to keep training hard so I took his advice.

"When he gave me the opportunity, I took it quite well."

Aird went on: "He has told me to keep doing what I am doing and that the position will be mine for now until I lose my form.

"The thing about this club is that there are boys waiting to get their chance. When you do get the chance, you need to show you want to keep the strip.

"I want to keep my shirt and keep in the team."

Aird remains eligible to play for Scotland, the country of his parents' birth, and Canada, where he was born.

Both nations involve him in their international youth set-ups, but Aird has yet to commit to either and intends to focus, for now, on developing at Rangers.

"I haven't really looked at that to be honest," he said. "Scotland don't have any games coming up until next year and Canada don't either.

"I haven't made up my mind yet and I am going to keep my options open.

"The main thing is to be playing football every week for Rangers and see what happens from there."


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