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Ally McCoist hails Rangers’ ‘great achievement’ despite ‘cruellest’ of losses

Former Rangers manager Ally McCoist hailed the team’s ‘great achievement’ in reaching the Europa League final following the ‘cruellest’ of defeats (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Former Rangers manager Ally McCoist hailed the team’s ‘great achievement’ in reaching the Europa League final following the ‘cruellest’ of defeats (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Former Rangers manager Ally McCoist hailed the team’s “great achievement” in reaching the Europa League final following the “cruellest” of defeats.

McCoist caught sight of his children feeling the pain in the crowd after Rangers lost on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt following a 1-1 draw in Seville.

Ryan Kent had a glorious late chance to win the game in extra-time but Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp saved and then denied Aaron Ramsey in the shootout.

McCoist told BT Sport: “It’s heart-breaking, that’s football. It can be such a beautiful game but at the same time it can be the cruellest of games.

“You see the kids (crying) and I saw my own there, they’ve got tears in their eyes. They will take a bit of consoling, as will we all.

“But I am so proud of those boys for the achievement of getting to a major European final. They had no right to get to European final – a great achievement.

“It’s a massive disappointment but we have to to think of the bigger picture and what those boys achieved. Think of the nights they have given us – the nights against Dortmund, Red Star Belgrade, Leipzig – phenomenal nights.

“Of course it’s a disappointment but, I tell you what, they have got a cup final on Saturday.”

Rangers face Hearts in the Scottish Cup showpiece, with Trevor Steven saying that game will help the process of dealing with the pain of European defeat.

The former Ibrox midfielder told Sky Sports News: “Reality will kick in very, very quickly. As a professional you have got to adapt yourself to the situation, which is getting back to Glasgow and preparing for a cup final.

“They will be pleased that they have something else to go for because that will focus their minds. If this was the very last game of the season, it would be a pretty miserable summer for those players.”

Rangers’ Aaron Ramsey stands dejected with Calvin Bassey
Calvin Bassey (right) came in for special praise from ex-England and Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves (Adam Davy/PA)

Mark Hateley agreed with his former team-mate’s assessment.

The ex-Rangers striker told BBC Radio Scotland: “It was a tough game to watch to be quite honest, bitty and bobby, five minutes here and there, not many chances created.

“I think the temperature took its toll. It was not a game for the purist, put it that way.

“It’s a big disappointment for the football club, and for the supporters that have come all this way in their numbers, but on the up side, they are going into another final on Saturday to make things right.”

Former England and Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves was very impressed with centre-back Calvin Bassey.

“My word, what a performance,” he told BT Sport. “It was astonishing really, the energy and the effort he had, the composure – everything about his game was fantastic.

“I’m sure anyone watching him, would be thinking ‘that’s the type of player I need in my team’.”