McCoist downplays Old Firm victory
Rangers manager Ally McCoist played down the significance of his side's 4-2 defeat of Celtic in the first Old Firm game of the season as Rangers took the early initiative in the Scottish Premier League title race.
The Ibrox club continued their unbeaten start to the season as they scored three second-half goals to come from behind and open a four-point lead over their Glasgow rivals. McCoist said only time would tell how much of a boost the result would give his men but he refused to get carried away in the euphoria of victory.
"It was certainly a massive performance from us in the second-half but it is only three points," the Rangers manager said. "I don't mean to say anything other than that because, as big a three points as it is, it's only three points.
"It's the first Old Firm game of the season and it was a terrific game. Obviously I'm a lot happier tonight than Neil Lennon and his boys will be but I've been around the block in Old Firm games long enough to know it's swings and roundabouts. This was a well-earned three points and a big three points but no more than that."
The Rangers boss is the veteran of countless Old Firm encounters as a player and assistant manager to Walter Smith but the match at Ibrox was his first derby in charge. "It's not about me," the Rangers manager added. "It's about the players and getting those three points for the fans; that's the most important thing.
"Obviously you can prepare and do your planning before the game and hopefully things go to plan. But the most important thing was winning the game and I thought we deserved that. You just want to win the game whether you are a player, assistant manager or manager. The only thing that is definitely greater is the responsibility. But the desire to win and the relief to win is just as high as it has always been."
Steven Naismith opened the scoring in the 22nd minute at Ibrox with a superb shot before Gary Hooper fired Celtic level in the 34th minute. Allan McGregor, the hero of past Old Firm derbies, was at fault when he allowed a harmless-looking shot from Moroccan Badr El Kaddouri through his grasp to give the visitors a half-time lead.
However, Nikica Jelavic headed Rangers level seven minutes after the break before Kyle Lafferty, who had already had an effort ruled-out for offside, fired Rangers ahead midway through the second half. Charlie Mulgrew saw red for his second bookable offence before Naismith got his second in injury time.
After watching his side capitulate in the second half Celtic manager Lennon said he was concerned with his side's stuttering start to the season. "You can regroup but it is a concern as we have lost two games already this season and that's not good enough," said Lennon, whose side have also lost at home to St Johnstone.
"We got our tails in front here and we looked ok and we looked composed but we didn't show any of that in the second half. We looked flat and that is not like us. It's very frustrating. We were pleased that we were in front at half-time but I would've been pleased even at 1-1 as I felt comfortable.
"We made the players very wary of what to expect second half and we didn't deal with it at all well. Obviously we lost our discipline as well, losing a player and we lost our positional discipline as well at times which was very disappointing from my point of view."
Lennon also appeared to question the character of his players after their second half collapse. "I had to ask questions of them after the game. I don't know if there was any fatigue from the game against Atletico Madrid on Thursday night but we were second best a lot of the time," he added.
"In games of this calibre you have to be physical, you have to win second balls, you have to battle and scrap and there wasn't enough of that on show in the second half."