Promotion is key if Ally McCoist is to avoid managerial exit just like John Greig

ALLY DAWSON felt the pain of watching a Rangers legend suffer a slow and lingering execution as fans bayed for his blood.

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Ally McCoist is now following in the managerial steps of fellow legend John Greig
Ally McCoist is now following in the managerial steps of fellow legend John Greig

Dawson was a member of the 1983 Ibrox team that was overshadowed by Celtic and a resurgent Aberdeen and Dundee United.

And their fall from the summit of Scottish football eventually cost manager John Greig, a man hailed by Rangers fans as the club's greatest ever servant, his job 19 years ago.

Now Dawson is fervently hoping history won't repeat itself with current boss and Ibrox icon Ally McCoist, who is facing a monumental task to restore the stricken club to its former glories after the tumultuous events that saw it plunge into the Third Division.

Dawson was a member of the 1983 Ibrox team that was overshadowed by Celtic and a resurgent Aberdeen and Dundee United.

And their fall from the summit of Scottish football eventually cost manager John Greig, a man hailed by Rangers fans as the club's greatest ever servant, his job 19 years ago.

Now Dawson is fervently hoping history won't repeat itself with current boss and Ibrox icon Ally McCoist, who is facing a monumental task to restore the stricken club to its former glories after the tumultuous events that saw it plunge into the Third Division.

He said: "As Ally has found out once you have picked your team and sent them out to play it's over to them.

"Manager's live and die by their players and unfortunately back in '83 we just did not deliver the results for John Greig.

"Back then however you had a great Dundee United side and even better Aberdeen one to contend with and Celtic were still a real force so it was a lot tougher to win things."

But Dawson remains convinced that fate will not befall his former team-mate – provided McCoist's team can escape Scottish football's bottom tier at the first time of asking.

And he remains certain that Rangers are on course to emerrge from the doldrums following Saturday's landslide 7-0 win over second division Alloa in the Scottish Cup.

That optimsim comes despite Gers having already been knocked out of two cup competitions at Ibrox.

Second Division leaders Queen of the South sending the Light Blues reeling out of the Ramsden's Cup.

While last Wednesday Terry Butcher's Inverness handed out a 3-0 defeat that KO'd Gers from the Scottish Communities League Cup.

Dawson, however, insists McCoist's legendary status among the light Blue supporters will not shield him from the terracing boo boys.

He said: "Ally will know, and I am sure he is on record as saying, that promotion from the Third Division as champions is the benchmark by which he will live or die as Rangers manager.

"The defeats in the two cup competitions may be disappointing, but Rangers are a new side who are just gelling and the prime objective for them is to win the Third Division title and take the first step back up towards the SPL.

"For me with every good result Rangers achieve Ally is buying himself and his team more time. I think the first objective for Ally was to get Rangers out in front in the Third Division by the end of the first quarter.

"He has done that and although the two cup defeats and some of the form away from home have not been great, people have to remember that it is going to take time for this Rangers team to bed in.

"I fully expect by Christmas time that Rangers will be starting to draw well clear and that the team will be clicking.

"A big positive was the victory over Alloa which was just what was required after the Inverness defeat.

"If Rangers had lost that one, and so been out of all three cup tournaments, then it would have heaped real pressure on Ally but they came through in rampant fashion.

"So I think it very unlikely that Charles Green will rush into anything. That said if Rangers were to fall away dramatically in the league then Ally would be in peril.

"But for me all the signs point to Rangers starting to grow and develop. The other big thing is that at no time has there been any moans or groans leaking out of Murray Park.

"For me that is a sign that Rangers are very much together as a squad under Ally and I think they are on the up again."

"The Third Division is everything and Rangers are very much on course."

Dawson, who is Regional Manager for the Street Soccer Homeless Initiative, believes that Rangers' main contenders for Third Division title glory, like Peterhead who visit Ibrox this weekend, will soon find their hopes flat lining.

The 54-year-old said: "The big problem for the other Third Division sides is that they have now had their cup finals on home ground against Rangers.

"When you start to go deep in winter suspensions and injuries mount up and their quality will drop off.

"On top of that, Rangers know what is required to get a result at Berwick, Annan and Stirling and the like and they will have learned lessons.

"As I said, I really expect Rangers to power on after the Christmas spell and the main thing they have as an advantage is the continuity in the team selection.

"The young players, as they showed against Alloa, are learning all the time and so will Ally McCoist.

"He will only become a better manager for this season in Division Three."

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