Rangers vs Celtic: Ally McCoist says Steven Gerrard needs League Cup final win more

Rangers and Celtic to meet for first Old Firm cup final since 2011

Steven Gerrard's Rangers side drew 2-2 at Aberdeen 1:33
Ally McCoist insists Steven Gerrard has made a positive start to his managerial career at Rangers, but needs a Scottish League Cup final victory against Celtic on Sunday

Ally McCoist believes Rangers need a League Cup final win more than Celtic as Steven Gerrard aims to end their Old Firm rivals' domestic dominance.

The two sides will meet at Hampden on December 8 in the first Old Firm cup final since 2011, with the teams separated by just two points at the top of the Scottish Premiership after a dramatic midweek round of fixtures saw Rangers slip up at Aberdeen.

Ibrox legend McCoist, who won the competition nine times as a player, was in the dugout as assistant to Walter Smith the last time Rangers won the tournament that afternoon in March 2011 - a 2-1 victory over Neil Lennon's Celtic.

Steven Gerrard was disappointed with the defeat
Image: Ally McCoist believes Rangers need a League Cup final win more than Celtic

The Parkhead side have enjoyed a total stranglehold over Scottish league and cup competitions in recent seasons, winning the last nine trophies in a row under Brendan Rodgers and the returning Lennon, and McCoist believes it is vital his former club end that dominance.

McCoist told Sky Sports: "Neil Lennon would argue that this wouldn't be the case and I get where he would be coming from but I think Rangers probably do need it slightly more. If anything, to stop Celtic's continuous run of success - Celtic have been on a fantastic run of collecting trophies.

"I think every Rangers supporter and Steven Gerrard included would not underestimate the importance of Rangers stopping that and, just as importantly, if not more importantly, winning it for themselves.

Brendan Rodgers lifts the Scottish League Cup after Celtic's 1-0 defeat of Aberdeen
Image: Celtic have won nine trophies in a row

"I've been really impressed with Steven, I think he has conducted himself exceptionally well. His interviews, obviously a very clever man, he was a fantastic player and you can see he wants to learn. He's surrounded himself with good people and I think he has had an excellent start to his very young managerial career.

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"That said, it is maybe time now he gets that first trophy on the board but I have been very impressed. He conducts himself at the side of the pitch and in interviews very well."

'Celtic will start as favourites'

Neil Lennon and Scott Brown
Image: Neil Lennon and Scott Brown celebrate at Ibrox

Despite that, McCoist believes Celtic will go into the showpiece event in Glasgow as favourites due to their recent cup record and the number of "matchwinners" they have in their squad.

"You would probably think that Celtic maybe have a slight edge just due to the fact that they have won so many trophies in a row recently," he said. "They will probably, in my eyes, start slight favourites as they probably have more matchwinners in their squad than Rangers.

"That said, the upturn in form in Rangers this season in particular has been absolutely terrific and it is one of these games we are thankfully back to involving the Old Firm where it is very difficult to call, which hasn't always been the case recently.

Celtic's Scott Brown and Rangers' Alfredo Morelos on the pitch during the Old Firm derby 1:41
Ally McCoist admits Celtic are slight favourites going into Sunday's Scottish League Cup final against Rangers on Sunday, but insists it is 'difficult to call'

"I don't know if it is fearlessness but there is certainly a belief with Rangers. I'm looking at their fixtures where a couple of years ago certainly they would have struggled.

"Looking at the Rangers squad and management there is a real strong belief which I see evident which probably hasn't been there in the recent past."

The wait for a first major trophy since 2011

Nikica Jelavic (left) wheels away to celebrate in 2011 as his shot finally creeps over the line despite the efforts of Celtic's Emilio Izaguirre
Image: Nikica Jelavic (left) wheels away to celebrate in 2011 as his shot finally creeps over the line despite the efforts of Celtic's Emilio Izaguirre

McCoist admits that the wait for a first major trophy since 2011 will continue to play on the minds of Rangers fans and players until they lift silverware again but believes Gerrard has returned them to a position of strength and says they are now capable of ending that barren spell.

"It will a little bit now [play on people's minds] because Rangers are, I wouldn't say back to where they want to be because they still have a little bit to go to do that, but they are as close as they have been in recent years.

"Obviously, with the recent history of the club, the main target was to get back to being very competitive in the league and winning domestic trophies and getting back in and playing Champions League football.

Walter Smith and then-assistant Ally McCoist celebrate Rangers' League Cup final win in 2011
Image: Walter Smith and then-assistant Ally McCoist celebrate Rangers' League Cup final win in 2011

"Clearly that's not where Rangers are at just yet but I don't think anybody could argue that there has been a significant improvement on and off the field and the next obvious step in Rangers' natural progression would be to win a trophy again and they have got an opportunity to do this on December 8."

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