HAT-TRICK hero and MOTM Ally McCoist enjoyed an enjoyable return to the Ibrox today as his squad of former Rangers players beat Walter Smith’s 8-3 in an entertaining legends game.
The star-studded match saw a host of familiar faces from the past pull on their boots again with four Development squad players – Jack Thomson, Stephen Kelly, Cammy Palmer, Andy Dallas – adding much-need fresh legs while Bluenose actors Jordan Young, Stephen Purdon and Gavin Wright, along with wrestler Grado, also got run-outs alongside their Gers heroes.
18-year-old Thomson was named in McCoist’s starting XI for kick-off, playing alongside Pedro Mendes no less, and it was his side, wearing the orange kits, that opened the scoring after just three minutes when Thomas Buffel, who still plays for Genk, flicked a cross into the roof of Andy Goram’s net.
While most of the players were clearly not as fit and sharp as they were back in their prime, there was still a lot of good football on show and this was highlighted when Michael Mols doubled his side’s advantage in style with 10 minutes on the clock.
Alex Rae crossed from the right and the Dutchman flicked the ball between his legs and into the net from close range.
The energetic Peter Lovenkrands pulled one back for Smith’s blue team when he skipped past Ronald Waterreus to score just after the half-hour mark. But on 34 minutes it was 3-1 to the oranges and it was young Cammy Palmer who tapped in after Mendes had a shot palmed away by Goram.
McCoist’s men were four-one up before the half-time interval when Mols bagged his second of the day – the striker literally strolling in behind the blues’ defence, walking around Goram and rolling the ball in.
Super Ally put himself on for the start of the second half and, typically, it would not be long before he got his name on the scoresheet.
First though it was Lovenkrands who fired in from close range, before Jonatan Johansson netted a third goal for Smith’s team – the Finn getting on the end of a clever Lovenkrands cross.
With the score now sitting at 4-3 McCoist’s squad was in need of a lift and the manager provided it when he headed in a deep corner from Mendes in front of the Broomloan Stand.
The club’s most prolific ever striker then almost did the same again, when he met a deep cross but his header clattered off the post.
With Grado now on having warmed up in Rangers shorts and his wrestling singlet, surely a first at Ibrox, the pace of the game dipped further but McCoist was still a threat, and on 63 minutes he made it 6-3 to his side with another diving header.
Ally was clearly up for it this afternoon and with six minutes remaining he completed a fine hat-trick after excellent build-up play involving Seb Rozental.
The scoring wasn’t over yet though, and Palmer made it 8-3 when he fired in from close range.
The result, of course, was irrelevant today and what was important was that fans got to enjoy a thoroughly entertaining 90 minutes while also getting to see so many of their heroes back at Ibrox – including Fernando Ricksen before kick-off – while raising funds for the Rangers Charity Foundation and the Rangers Youth Development Company.