In his days as a Rangers player working his socks off with high levels of consistent displays being the norm Stuart McCall could never have possibly imagined that one day he would be leading a side back to his old stomping ground in a match between his team, the SPL leaders and his former club who would be sitting second in the third division.
However as one legendary English striker turned TV pundit famously quipped “ it’s a funny old game”.
McCall’s Motherwell head to Ibrox for Wednesdays League Cup quarter final tie full of confidence as they proudly sit top of the SPL table to tackle a Rangers team who have found adapting to life in the lower echelons of Scottish football to be anything but easy.
It is all a far cry from the 1990’s when McCall and Ally McCoist were team mates as the Govan club romped to nine in a row and the very notion of Rangers falling so far from grace would have dismissed as unthinkable.
However fast forward to 2012 and it is the team from Lanarkshire who are favourites to defeat the Gers on their home patch, something the Steelmen have not accomplished since 1997 when Owen Coyle and co were party poopers delaying Walter Smith’s team from winning their ninth successive championship for a few days with a famous 2-0 win.
McCall inherited a squad who were perceived as punching above their weight under Craig Brown in February 2011 but he has not only continued the fine work done under Brown, he has taken them on to a higher level.
Indeed there was the surreal situation this summer when the Fir Park club were on the brink of Champions League football and whilst Panathinaikos put paid to that McCall deserves immense credit for the impressive work he has done as Well boss.
Throwing away a two goal lead against Aberdeen on Sunday agitated McCall but this should not adversely affect the confidence of his troops as they prepare to meet Rangers and the prospect of landing their first victory in Govan in 15 years a realistic prospect.
With Darren Randolph continuing to rack up excellent performances between the sticks, Nicky Law, Tom Hateley and Keith Lasley turning on the style in the middle of the park and the top scorer in the SPL, seven goal hitman Michael Higdon on fire, it’s easy to see why the bookies have Motherwell down as favourites to knock Rangers out of a domestic cup competition for the second time in a week.
Expectations will be high amongst the travelling support and if McCall can ensure his charges are at their best again then the pressure which is beginning to surround Ally McCoist will only intensify.
A funny old game? Well it promises to be anything but for recently turned 50 years of age McCoist if former team mate McCall notches up another win on a growingly impressive CV.
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