McCoist declines to phone a friend

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Ally McCoist has no plans to seek advice from Walter Smith ahead of his first Old Firm derby as Rangers manager this weekend.

McCoist replaced the veteran boss in the hotseat at the end of last season and is now hoping to mastermind a victory over their biggest rivals when Celtic come calling at Ibrox. The former striker came up against the Hoops on numerous occasions as a player and assisted Smith during his second spell at the helm of the Scottish champions, and is relishing the opportunity to go it alone.

He said: "I won't consult with him, not at all. Possibly I will talk to him because we are friends and we speak quite a lot on the phone. I would imagine we will have a conversation but I won't be phoning for any special knowledge or tips or anything like that."

He added: "Walter has always been there and he is a great friend now and he will obviously be wishing us well, but the contact will purely be friendship.

"I'm lucky in the respect that I totally understand and know the enormity of the occasion having played in so many of the games.

"I do appreciate the enormity of the situation so from that point of view, having played in a few and assisted in a few, you would hope that would help."

Rangers head into the game top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League after enduring a difficult start to the campaign, which saw them crash out of both the Champions League and the Europa League at the qualifying stages.

But defender Steven Whittaker is confident the team is now better placed to deliver the goods.

He said: "Early doors, we weren't at our best and we obviously got put out of Europe and had some poor performances, but domestically we have been solid and I think our performances have been getting better week by week.

"We have been growing as a squad and we are definitely looking forward."

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