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Ally McCoist deserved to be honoured in Rangers' title celebrations

Coisty might not have been very good, but he still played an important part in our club's history and should be remembered and honoured as such.

Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It has laughably been claimed that Ally McCoist being present for the title celebrations at Ibrox may present a security risk, and that our former manager and legendary striker should stay away from the proceedings as a result.

Clearly, this is absolutely mad, and thankfully nonsense, but the relentless criticism of Coisty will seemingly never end. There was an opportunity, folk say, to have actually had some fun in the lower leagues, forging a new team out of youth and flair to be ready to assault the top flight once we returned. Coisty irrefutably failed to do this, sometimes spectacularly so. But it doesn't then follow that he was the biggest obstacle to this ideal scenario, rather than the chaos and skulduggery surrounding the club off the pitch.

The main counter-argument says Coisty was held back by the shambles off-field during his time as manager. While the riposte that he still had a vastly superior budget to all of the sides he faced in the league, and many in the cup, is certainly convincing, it doesn't tell the whole story. Nobody's saying Green and Whyte prevented Coisty from becoming a Proddy Pep, just that it made things literally immeasurably difficult. Coisty might even have been a decent chequebook manager had Walter retired much earlier than he did. We'll never know. But it is simply impossible to cast harsh judgement given what was going on. One only needs to look at his old pal Lenny to see how a club with even a fraction of the off-field issues will play miles beneath itself.

So, what might he have done differently, even if he was aware of his own shortcomings? Resigned? To make way for whom? Would Green or Ashley really have appointed a Mark Warburton? Would anyone of that calibre really have come to be a Yes-man for a criminal cabal running a club surviving hand-to-mouth in the third tier of Scottish football? There'd have been plenty of desperate men ready to suit up for the gig - not Real Rangers Men by that point, true, but nobody any better. Was Coisty really so much a Yes-man in any case? How many folk criticising him for that have tweets lurking back in the archives praising the Craig Whyte takeover or Charles Green's missives? Nobody's here to judge that. Hindsight is 20/20. And if we must, how many can balance that out with more of a record of supporting the club than Coisty?

True, a resignation, bitter parting shot and call to arms might have moved fans against the regime. But they'd been against it for a long time. While we should be rightly proud of the mass rally and that night against Hearts that helped finally drive out the vermin, we shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking it was fan power alone that achieved it. Or at least not the fans in the stands. Without the financial weight of Dave King and co, we'd have been powerless, because as every dodgy bastard from Bearsden to Bangkok has figured out, football fans are the ultimate captive audience who will mostly keep showing up and paying their way regardless of how they're treated. Inviting fans to boycott games is akin to asking them to boycott oxygen. And while, yes, we managed even that where many other clubs could never go to those extremes, but so long as they controlled the board they might have continued on regardless, driving the club either into the ground or into purgatory as a Sports Direct cash cow. If the EGM was, as the papers had it, D-Day, then the fans were the equivalent of the French resistance. Heroes, yes, but let's not imagine we could have done it by ourselves.

The reason the celebrations at the final whistle against Dumbarton were muted was that it wasn't the culmination of a glorious and fabled journey. It was the end of a sad and depressing period in the club's history that should never have come to pass, that no amount of James Tavernier free-kicks or Barrie McKay through-balls could have made up for. We might as well have shown up in black ties and lain a wreath. That's what we're remembering, not cruising to the title win this season, impressive though our play often was. And as a period which should be grimly remembered through gritted teeth, Coisty deserves to be honoured as a part of it, regardless of what he did (and he did a lot more than many folk will be prepared to admit.) It happened, and thankfully it's now in the past, but like everything in the past, it should be respected for that alone. It's who we were. If you don't know your history, you don't know where you're going. And if nothing else, we know our history.