Rangers manager Ally McCoist has moved to play down the hype surrounding Saturday’s clash with Dundee United by insisting now is the time to “take the sting out of the situation”.
The William Hill Scottish Cup tie is set to be played in controversial and unusual circumstances after Rangers opted against taking a ticket allocation for the visit to Tannadice.
The club took the decision after fans’ groups called for a boycott. Many Rangers fans say United were one of the most vocal clubs in insisting the newco joined Scottish football in the Third Division rather than the SPL.
Around 10,000 home fans are expected to watch Jackie McNamara’s debut as United boss, with only a few hundred away fans expected on Tayside.
Tayside Police have warned ticketless supporters of both clubs to stay away.
The force has already removed over 100 comments from a thread about the game on its official Facebook page following increasingly hostile posts by rival supporters.
The man in charge of policing the game said it would be “business as usual” for officers, but said fans without tickets would be turned away.
McCoist, who hopes the situation is a one-off, said: “There has been a lot of stuff written and a lot of stuff said. I think now is the time to actually take the sting out of the whole situation to be honest.
“Jackie is a great lad. I wished him all the best in his job and we’ll shake hands before the game. All it is, is a cup tie that both teams want to win.
“It’s going to be a little bit different because the club have taken the stance not to take any tickets for the game. That stance has been made and hopefully it’s just a one-off and we can move on.
“People are probably reading a lot more into it and wanting to build a lot more out of it than they should. It’s a cup game that’s important to both clubs and both clubs want to win. It’s no more than that.”
For more on the build-up to the match, see Saturday’s Courier or try our new digital edition.