McCoist eases Tannadice tension

ALLY McCOIST has moved to defuse the brewing tension between Rangers and Dundee United ahead of April's Scottish Cup clash.

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Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson and boss Jackie McNamara have criticised SFA over Ibrox cup semi-final tie
Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson and boss Jackie McNamara have criticised SFA over Ibrox cup semi-final tie

The Arabs this week became embroiled in a public spat with the SFA over the decision to play the semi-final tie at Ibrox while chairman Stephen Thompson and manager Jackie McNamara have been vocal about the ticket allocation the Tannadice club have received.

ArabTrust chairman Steven Hughes yesterday infuriated the Light Blue legions by claiming some fans will not travel to the game due to fears over their safety at Ibrox.

Boss McCoist said: "I would be hopeful that was maybe taken a wee bit out of context. I didn't read the quotes so it would be wrong of me to comment on them.

"But certainly in this day and age, the one thing you expect is any travelling supporter of any club going to any game would like to sit down and watch it in comfort and safety. I would hope that is just about guaranteed in all the stadiums in the country and ours is no different.

"You want a fantastic atmosphere to create a good tempo and good quality of game. Cup ties do generate a better atmosphere generally and I would hope that would be the case against United."

Tensions have risen between supporters of both clubs in recent years, with the cup clash set to be a powderkeg affair as they bid for a final berth against either Aberdeen or St Johnstone.

But McCoist insists Gers have more important issues to focus on than public slanging matches and that it's not stirred up ill feeling with him.

"Not with me it hasn't - I don't have any animosity," he said. "It's something that, if it is there, I don't see it as being a major, major problem at all, I don't.

"I think there would be the same level of interest no matter who we would be playing from the top flight."

He went on: "I know there was that issue last year in the cup with travelling fans, but I think we as a club and as a team have got far bigger things to worry about than having a mump and a moan with individual clubs.

"We have got to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and concentrate our energies on getting back to the top flight and playing semi- finals and finals on a more regular basis than we are doing at the moment."

Chairman Thompson has backtracked on his initial outburst against the SFA and McCoist is happy to stay out of the debate between the two parties ahead of the tie.

He said: "They would look at it as if they are only fighting their corner, which is fine. But with the greatest of respect, their fight is not against us.

"The game will be against us, but the problem is with tickets and the venue and we are not in control of that, so their fight isn't with us."

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