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'Making McCulloch captain was a no brainer'


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ALLY McCOIST last night praised Lee McCulloch for pulling Rangers' shrinking violets out of their shells.

The Ibrox boss insists the club skipper has become a father figure for a host of new faces at Murray Park.

Not only is he Gers' top scorer but McCulloch has also taken on the mantle of dressing-room leader for kids such as Barrie McKay and Lewis MacLeod.

McCoist said: "I'm not surprised Lee is relishing the father-figure role.

"Making him captain was a no-brainer. That said, you still have to go and lead.

"At the moment that responsibility is probably a bit like being the England cricket captain. You've a lot more on your plate than just your own game.

"When I was playing, we had great captains like Richard Gough and Terry Butcher. But a lot of work was done for them as we always had a lot of captain types spread through the team.

"So the responsibility that's fallen on Lee is probably as great as any Rangers captain has had in recent years."

Restoring the balance of a dressing-room that was decimated last summer has become a priority for McCoist and he insists Big Jig's the man for the job.

He said: "It doesn't happen overnight and you have to generate characters, you have to allow spirit and character to form within the group.

"Wee Robbie Crawford is an absolute gentleman and wouldn't say boo to a goose. It's the same with MacLeod and McKay.

"Fraser Aird is a wee bit different, he's not so shy!

"They all have different qualities and that won't develop tomorrow or the next day – but it will come.

"That's why Jig is really important. He will help them grow. Watch and see how their personalities develop.

"We will also help them get to know each other away from the dressing-room, which is extremely important.

"A happy team doesn't guarantee success but I believe it helps."

McCulloch's form has led to suggestions he could still cut it on the international stage but McCoist would prefer his captain to watch Craig Levein's Scotland on the box with a cold beer.

He said: "Lee could still play for Scotland but, from a selfish point of view, my small squad is going down like flies.

"I would be happier if he watched the national team on TV with his feet up and a glass of a beer."

McCulloch's second-half header sent Gers on their way to a 2-0 victory in their midweek League Cup clash with SPL side Motherwell.

McCoist said: "I thought Jig's header on Wednesday night was top drawer. As soon as he met the ball I knew it was going in.

"In that situation you have to gamble because you don't know where the ball is going to go. But if you get half a yard on the defender then you can take your chance – and Lee did that.

"He is so powerful and has fantastic experience – the fact he's played centre-half, midfield and centre-forward.

"He uses his body brilliantly, perhaps giving someone a nudge before he gets a flick on. His performances up top and his goals indicate we are getting a great return from Lee up there."

http://www.<No links to this website>/sport/football/football-news/rangers-boss-ally-mccoist-hails-1351051

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