A Step Too Far


Ally McCoist. Ain’t he a charmer? Ain’t he a cheeky chappie? Everybody’s buddy, is our Ally. Everybody’s pal.

A man who says the occasional silly thing, but hey, we’ve all done that from time to time. Haven’t we?

Yes, of course we have, and it doesn’t matter that the majority of our own little ignorant utterances are done in private, where they can hurt no-one, whereas his are in front of a bank of cameras, all his mates, who are ready to spread his words far and wide.

After all, this is Ally. There is no malice in Ally. Not Coisty. One of the boys is Coisty. A nice man. He carried Tommy Burns’ coffin, and that shows he’s a nice guy. Cause the character of the man inside the coffin had nothing to do with that. This is Coisty we’re talking about here. It’s all about Coisty. Ally. Super Ally. Or just Super. Good lad.

You get the drift, and if you’re sitting there right now thinking “I don’t know exactly what James is about to write, but I’m betting this is the last nice thing we hear about Ally McCoist in this article,” you’re not 100% right, but maybe 75 – 25.

I don’t like Ally McCoist. Except as Rangers manager. As far as I’m concerned he can have that job as long as he likes. It suits him perfectly. The old club’s liquidation saw the new club start from a position of utter weakness, and it’s only fitting they should have a guy in the manager’s office who symbolises that. Rangers once appointed Dick Advocaat and Paul LeGuen, and had ambitions to conquer Europe. The Newco is led by a guy in his fifties, doing his first managerial job, who needs a thirty man squad of highly paid players to win Scotland’s third tier.

Ally McCoist, or Coisty as his pals in the press prefer to call him, has visited calamity on Rangers and its successor club like nothing we’ve seen since the Ten Plagues of Egypt. At the end of those plagues, of course, the cry was “let my people go!” At the end of this one, I suspect the cry will be “we don’t do walking away … they sack us so we can leave with a settlement.” Especially, and this is true friends and neighbours, especially when it’ll probably be his last job in management … at least at his current level. Of earnings I mean. If he can’t do better, frankly, than a Scottish third tier team the next time round he’d be as well chucking it …

For the moment, however, he’s at Ibrox, where he belongs, right there where I like him. When I say he’s visited calamity on the club I mean it, with everything from his domestic cup record to his blowing a league lead which the old club thought would carry them over the finish line in the second half of a season where most people knew they were going to experience the hammer blow of administration at best. McCoist’s dismal domestic record has seen Rangers websites call for his sacking, and has pretty much nailed down the views of large swathes of their support.

Yet his domestic record pales next to what he did to the club on his European adventures. The damage he did there was truly Biblical. In football terms, it was the visiting of death on the first-born. Craig Whyte walked into Ibrox fully intending an administration event – almost everyone who’s examined the issue agrees on that – but it would not have been the out-of-control spin out of the sky and crash that befell the club. Those plans were obliterated, utterly, when the full time whistle blew at Ibrox on the night Maribor knocked them out of Europe.

Malmo had already beaten them in the Champions League, ending Whyte’s hopes of bagging tens of millions in the top competition. But that night, against the Slovenian’s, hammered the first nail into the coffin of the club.

At the time, McCoist had a first team squad brimming with talent; everyone from Jelavic to the captain, Davis, and a top class goalkeeper in Allan McGregor. It made no difference. I said at the time that you could have given McCoist the Real Madrid Galacticos and he would have struggled to get anything out of them.

Some have got it, and some ain’t. Coisty would have been better off staying on the telly, although the way he looks now you’re more likely to see him on Celebrity Fat Club than you are back on Question of Sport.

I find Ally amusing. Not funny, or warm, or the bestest buddy I will ever have. I am not a member of the Scottish press, like the indomitable (aye okay) Hugh Keevins, who has said, live on the air, on a show where he is paid money to be impartial, and offer a critical and honest appraisal of the major issues in football, that he considers McCoist too much of a friend to view him objectively and doesn’t care who knows it.

That would be cringe inducing hero worship from a supporter. For a journalist it should be a termination offence.

No, I find Ally amusing, in the same way you’d find a drunk man trying to get his house keys into the lock amusing. I snigger sometimes when I read him commenting about buying players until the board tells him to stop, knowing he could have an 80 man squad before long, sucking money out of the club like a vampire draining a fresh kill, and still not put an attractive team on the park. I find him mildly entertaining, like picking up the Metro on the bus.

But I don’t like him. I have the luxury of distance, and objectivity, having not spent fan-boy evenings in his riveting company, listening to him regale the audience with his witty repartee and that brilliant smile which once turned the knees of many of the Scotsport team to jelly. (Men as well as women, based on the way some of them still lust over him.)

The Ally McCoist I see on TV bears little resemblance to the one I hear about constantly; the genial host. The life and soul of the party. The funniest man at the table. I look at the sneering, contemptuous, arrogant, wide-boy,  and I dislike him intensely. I listen to his demands, to his gurning litany of complaints and I hear a wannabe hard man, with no respect for, or regard for, other people. I believe he’s one of the most contemptible people in the game.

I’m betting (pun intended) most of you know why I’ve chosen him as the subject of tonight’s piece. He’s been running his mouth off today “in defence” of Ian Black. It’s the way he’s chosen to do it that sticks in the craw, turning it into another SFA witch-hunt against his club, demanding “clarification” on the rules for the 100th time this year.

Honest to God, I think there must be an entire department at the SFA who’s sole responsibility is to clarify sections of the rule book for Rangers and McCoist.

I know a lot of Celtic fans joke about “blaming the schools”, but Rangers do employ an awful lot of highly intelligent people. Are we honestly to believe that none of them can do something as simple as pick up a rulebook and learn the finer points in it? Is there any rule they do understand?

What makes tonight especially distasteful – although not on a par with his disgraceful demands for the names of an SFA committee who had imposed deserved sanctions on his club – is his suggestion that he personally has the names of 100 “players and officials” who have laid bets on matches. It is a not very veiled threat. It is a shot across the bow of the SFA, but this time he has severely over played a bad, bad hand. This time he might just pay a high price.

His paper-waving posturing today was utterly abominable.

Hiding behind 100 people he will not name (because most of them would sue him from here to Kingdom come) is one thing … but the allegation is deadly serious, especially in that he has talked about “officials.”

What officials? Club officials? Match officials?

Is he talking about referees and linesmen here? Is he honesty saying that he possesses evidence that the men in black have been betting on matches their colleagues and friends are officiating on? Is he – god damn it – suggesting that there are officials who have been placing bets on their own games?

It is not enough to use those comments and then try to hide behind some integrity that you will not name names. If he’s posturing and doesn’t have that information he is dragging the whole of Scottish football into the gutter with his player, smearing all and sundry just to deflect blame. And if he does have those names and will not disclose them he is complicit in a scandal that could dwarf anything we’ve seen previously in European football.

McCoist cannot hide behind those weasel words. It is time this man was held to account for his dangerous behaviour. What he’s done today is to step over a line people in our game have been at pains for decades not to cross. Hugh Keevins (again) once said, live, on national radio, that if the game here was bent he would not dig for the dirt because it would be better not to know it, because of the damage it would do. I found that statement then, and now, to be beneath contempt, but it reveals a mind-set I can well understand, and believe is prevalent at the top levels of the SFA.

There are things we know and things we don’t. There are also what Donald Rumsfeld once ham-fistedly called “known unknowns”. And there are unknown unknowns too, and for years a lot of people in Scotland have been perfectly content to keep it that way.

Today McCoist has popped off the lid on a can of worms and scooped the contents out all over the table, in front of the Scottish media. Will they even dare suggest he be called to answer for, and explain, what he’s said today?

I don’t know how they can avoid it.

McCoist is alleging corruption on a grand scale, and waving the papers he says prove it. On Monday morning Vince Lumney has to demand that he appear in front of an SFA committee and explain, and expand on, those remarks, and either withdraw them, sit down and shut up or be subject to the full force and effect of SFA regulations. This cannot go unanswered.

The Cheeky Chappie has gone too far this time. The media can line up behind him if they want, but this time they’ll be lining up behind a man who’s either lying and smearing the whole of the game or they’ll be lining up behind a corruption cover-up of epic, game changing proportions.

The supporters of every club in this land are entitled to know if what this man has said is true. All of us can point to staggering displays of refereeing ineptitude over the years that defy all and any rational explanation other than us saying our officials are the worst in the game. But what if they’re not?

What if those disallowed goals, bizarre red cards, shocking penalty decisions, rank offside calls and shameful moments of sheer blindness are actually calculated? What if they were inspired by a desire to make profits? What if players, clubs, fans and the bookies themselves were cheated?

I don’t like Ally McCoist. He has proven himself to be craven, underhanded, vindictive, reckless and frankly dangerous in his conduct. He has inspired hate mobs to vent their spleen. He has played to the worst traits of the Rangers support with such naked inspirations to hate that it takes my breath away that anyone can defend him.

But tonight he might just have unleashed the dogs of war, in a stunning example of over-reach.

This Pandora’s Box will not close easily.

It’s time to get him on the record, instead of kissing his arse in the Record.

McCoist has to be called to account here.

The remaining integrity of the game depends on it.

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James Forrest

James Forrest is a writer and blogger from Glasgow, and the author of two books, Fragments and Believers, which are available on Amazon.

24 thoughts on “A Step Too Far

  • 22 August, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I think your comments tonight are bang on but i fear he will continue to get away with saying whatever he wants regardless of the consequences.

  • 22 August, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Quality as ever James.

    As ever the sfa will do sfa, you know it and I know it.


  • 22 August, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    My daughter idolized Mc Coist as teenager much to the disgusted of her 2 brothers. She had very serious accident when she was 15 and suffered serious head injuries. She was in a coma for abt 4 weeks in the Southern General. 4 times macoist promised to come and see her and 4 times he let her down. After the last let down she tore all his pictures up and thru them in the bin. She is fine now and has 2 lovely Bhoys.

  • 22 August, 2013 at 10:53 pm


    As ever your comments are hard hitting, concise, precise and damning. Will anyone in the mainstream press pick up, and expand, on them though? Unlikely, as that is the way in this country.

    Anyone, anything and everyone and everything that is successful in this country will be picked apart, analysed and derided / castigated / called to task for any minor blemish on their history or character.

    With one exception, ra Gers.

    They had success, bought and paid for by charities, honest working people, the Ambulance Service, police and us, the tax payers of this country. Will we ever learn the truth, from the SMSM, of what went on (and still goes on) at that club / company / holding company / corporation?

    We all know that the answer is a resounding “NO”!

    Anyhow, time for bed.

    Goodnight from Turra,


  • 22 August, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    How they (sally) can still preach their lies and will not be challenged by the msm is a sad indictment of the country i live in.
    Keep stoking their fire James. H H

  • 22 August, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    It’s amazing how, we as bloggers, are referred to as “Internet Bampots”.

    Yet the Bampots that run and write the daily news and sport sit fearful behind their laptops living in fear of Supper Ally. Surely he doesn’t have dirt on them all? Newspapers are more powerful than Presidents and Prime Ministers as is TV and no-one will call him out?

    Playing the victim card again despite his own player holding his team in such poor regard as to bet against them

    He’s backing a loser here and surely this is more reprehensible than Sandaza?

  • 22 August, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Utterly brilliant James,but this Keevins chap,a bit of an oddity eh?
    Says that Campbell Ogilvie is a thoroughly nice chap,of course he is Shug,he’s one of the lads as is Walter,odd that they are all connected with the same dead club.
    Of course the SFA will now get those names on their desk first thing on Monday morning,me,I’ll win the £75 million on Friday’s lottery and the pigs will fly overhead and shit,hopefully on you know who’s head.

  • 22 August, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    outstanding mate!

  • 22 August, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    I think you’re being a wee bit harsh here, James. It’s reasonable for an individual, or a whole organisation, to seek clarification on the rules of engagement for the industry in which they operate. The Rangers are a fledgling club in the industry we call Scottish Football, and as such, we should allow them their teething problems; give them some bedding-in time; allow them the odd slip here and there, that would be expected of any novice in any walk of life (irrelevant of its colour).

    We should be more understanding to The Rangers who have not had the benefits of evolution; of learning from past mistakes (they have no past); from ancestors teaching right-from-wrong (they didn’t know themselves). If The Rangers’ ancestors, RFC (1872), sought clarification on the rules on a more regular basis they may not have spent millions of pounds of tax-payers money on funding their playing squad for over a decade. Such ignorance of the rules caused the club to be sold for £1 to a man whose own understanding of the tax rules on regular, and timely, payments of VAT and PAYE would have benefitted from clear explanation. Such wanton ignorance caused the ultimate demise and liquidation of this once great Scottish institution. If such ignorance of the rules, by which all others in the land abide by, were to remain prevalent at the new club then I fear it will suffer the same fate as its predecessor at Ibrox Park.

    And that would be disastrous for Scottish football. I don’t think it’ll be quite the Armageddon that many predicted, wrongly, last summer; but nonetheless, Scottish football desperately needs a strong The Rangers in League One, the 3rd tier of the SPFL. Who else is going to provide serious competition to Ayr, to Dunfermline (weren’t they nearly deid?), to Airdrieonians (aren’t they deid?!) and stop either of these (or any other serious contender) running away with the 3rd Division title. If Messrs McCoist and McSally’s continual seeking of rule clarification ensures The Rangers’ presence in Div 3, then it needs to be supported, tolerated even, as it is vital if competition, and ultimately, interest is to be maintained in the 2nd from bottom league. With the newly introduced pyramid league system, that interest will filter up through the Championship and into the Premiership, to the pinnacle of the game (and the pyramid) to the benefit of all. And that can only be a good thing.

  • 22 August, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    By God, you’ve named that tune in one!
    I`d just seen the clip on the news when I saw the link to this article on CQN.
    Of course, sadly, we will not see any sort of criticism of him among the laptop loyal. In fact, you can anticipate BFDJ, Dalziel, Hateley & Co already circling the wagons.
    In fact, your article is the equivalent of a blind man hitting the bullseye from the back of a crowded pub!
    Keep telling it like it is, James.
    I’ve often wondered about you using your full name on CQN while the rest of us hid behind user names. On reflection, if I could write like you I would probably use my real name too!

  • 23 August, 2013 at 6:33 am

    Excellent piece as per usual although I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Ally’s latest rant to be investigated by the relevant authorities, whether that be the SFA or even the polis! As an aside would it not make cringeworthy reading to compile a list of Keevins’ embarrassing rants from those you mentioned to Artur George and latterly claiming the bloggers who told the true story about the desth of Rangers as Internet Bampots? The man is a complete shambles and an embarrassment to himself, his family and his trade.

  • 23 August, 2013 at 7:46 am

    cant argue with any of of that other than u missed using the word sleekit

  • 23 August, 2013 at 7:54 am

    Do you not like Alistair ?

  • 23 August, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Nailed it James, absolutely spot on. I could hardly believe my eyes and ears when McCoist pulled that paper waving stunt on TV – talk about removing all doubt – the man is a complete fool. Does he seriously think comments like that have no consequences? Vincent Lunny and his cohorts at the SFA cannot ignore this. I will be writing to them outlining my concerns at the rule breaking McCoist alleges and asking them what they propose to do about it. Hopefully thousand of others do likewise and get this clown called to account.

  • 23 August, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Spot on as usual James.

    But as DJ remarked live on air last night when questioned on Ally revealing the names ‘Ally’s no grass’!

    When ignorance is your default defence position you know you’re in soapy.

  • 23 August, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Rivetting piece of writing James.
    Looking forward to reading more of your penned excellence.
    All the best.

  • 23 August, 2013 at 9:32 am

    great piece if only the press would act on this ,but they won,t.If any other manager had uttered that threat the media would had loved to sink their teeth into it.(Celtic in Newcastle)The whole SMSMs collective heart must have stopped for a sec for one arse clutching moment they feared Armageddon,then thought no ! he,s oor Ally it,s “awrite” When one of them breaks ranks …….It will happen when one of them has no alternative ……..that,s the only way it will occur .History (social and political)will not look back on this kindly.there will be attempted coverups,but the truth will out …James Forrest,Phil mac,and those who wrote the truth,will be remembered with respect.The SMSM will ………not………nor should they.As stated before,when the dam breaks what stramash/stooshie/wisnae me/panic.they will be blaming this yin and that yin,the blame culture will be in full flow.But will they take responsibility …..don,t think so,Interesting times ahead !

  • 23 August, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Well said—you capture my views on this despicable creature perfectly!

  • 23 August, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Nail on head. Ally is a narcisist with little if any intelligence. Like the whole of RFC their collective narcisism leads to a sense of superiority and the belief that they are untouchable. Sadly the nepotism within the SFA will ensure Ally will receive a slap on the wrist if any punishment.

  • 23 August, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Well done James I can’t decide whether he is a fool or he is making a pathetic transparent attempt at creating a siege mentality. See Fergie coaching manual 1980’s. Whatever he is he cannot change his attitude of entitlement which gives him the confidence to make these remarks – he feels untouchable. Like you I hope his reign as Sevco boss is long and inglorious. He is helping to create a generation’s worth of damage from which they or their successors may never recover

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