RANGERS boss Ally McCoist was today urged to sort out Bilel Mohsni's discipline soon - before rival players start to deliberately target him.
Mohsni is set to return to the Gers first team in the SPFL League One match against East Fife at Ibrox on Saturday after serving a one-match suspension.
The French-Tunisian centre-half was ruled out of his side's awkward away match against Stenhousemuir on the artificial surface at Ochilview on Sunday.
The 26-year-old was red-carded after becoming embroiled in a melee at the end of a bruising encounter with Airdrie at the Excelsior Stadium last Thursday.
That flare-up came as no surprise at all to former Scotland striker Paul Sturrock who managed the player for three years at English club Southend United. Sturrock rated Mohsni, who has become a firm fans' favourite at Rangers, highly and encouraged McCoist to sign him in the summer when he became a free agent.
But he also saw the ugly side of the defender on many occasions and reckons teams will start trying to wind up the fiery star if he continues to react badly.
Sturrock said: "Bilel has a problem as far as his discipline is concerned. He is very excitable on the football field. I think it has something to do with his nationality.
"He is a hothead. He has a lot of problems there. People down in England latched onto that after a while and goaded him a bit. He sometimes didn't time his tackles well."
He added: "Ally invited me up to watch him play when Rangers played Arbroath at Ibrox earlier in the season and I thought Bilel produced a very disciplined performance. But he definitely has a problem. He has a habit of getting caught up in things that he shouldn't. Rangers are going to have to stamp it out very early on.
"No doubt about it, he is a top-quality player. He played in a variety of positions for me, at centre-half, on the left-wing and up front, and scored a lot of goals.
"But he also got booked and got himself sent off far too many times as well."
Sturrock, who parted company with Southend last season, revealed that he had warned McCoist about Mohsni's suspect temperament when he signed him last year.
And the Dundee United legend has backed the Rangers manager and his fellow coaches to sort out the problem before it spirals out of control.
He said: "I am sure that Ally and his back room staff, Ian Durrant and Kenny McDowall, appreciate there is an issue that needs to be addressed and will sort it out."