“He scored for Scotland and SNORED for Scotland” – Ian Durrant on 40 years of friendship with Rangers hero Ally McCoist
HE went from his boot boy to his best pal.
But Ian Durrant says what he remembers best from 40 years of friendship with Ally McCoist is the support he got from his team-mate.
McCoist turns 60 today and Durrant has been with him for many of those years, first as an Ibrox apprentice, then as a team-mate with Rangers, Kilmarnock and Scotland, and later as coach.
He knows Super Ally better than anyone, and says the personality of the popular media figure is the same in private as in public.
Durrant said: “With Alistair, what you see is what you get. There aren’t any secrets.
“He’s much the same in private with people he knows well as he is on the radio or TV.
“He comes across as chirpy and the life and soul of the party, and that’s very much how he is.
“The one thing I would say about Coisty is that people don’t know about how much charity work he does.
“He doesn’t do it for recognition, but I know that over the years he’s done a lot that never gets publicised, particularly in his home town of East Kilbride. His late mum Jessie used to say that I was the wee brother Alistair never had, which I always took as a great compliment.”
Alistair Murdoch McCoist, who was born in Bellshill on September 24, 1962, scored a record 355 goals for Rangers.
He won every domestic honour in 15 years at Ibrox, playing a key role in the nine-in-a-row era.
He also won Europe’s Golden Boot twice and famously scored in the first-ever Champions League season, as Gers defeated English champions Leeds United home and away.
McCoist later coached Rangers when they reached the 2008 Uefa Cup final against Zenit St Petersburg in Manchester, and he also bossed them to two lower-league titles on ‘The Journey’ back.
Now a respected broadcaster and pundit, he has spent his birthday week covering Scotland in the Nations League while also working on TalkSPORT’s breakfast show, with presenters and friends Alan Brazil and Laura Woods.
Pal Durrant recalled: “We go all the way back to when he came to Rangers from Sunderland in 1983. I was 17 and on the groundstaff.
“One of my jobs was cleaning the first-team’s boots and the jersey numbers I was responsible for were one to ten. So I had guys like Sandy Clark, Robert Prytz, John MacDonald — and Alistair.
“I used to get decent tips from them and I think they would say I did a good job, but I always made sure Prytz’s boots in particular were just immaculate.
“He had the same size feet as me so I used to get his old boots!
“It was a good dressing room to go into, and I became great friends with the likes of Davie Cooper and Bobby Russell, but a relationship was built up with Alistair and we became very good friends.
“That friendship has remained constant for 40 years and it was cemented when we had to go down to Lilleshall for treatment at the same time.
“It was after my knee injury and he was struggling with a hamstring injury.
“We were room-mates and tried to be a support for one another because there’s always a bit of uncertainty when you’ve a bad injury.
“The one thing I could tell people they might not know about him is that, after that week at Lilleshall, I can confirm he could snore for Scotland as well as play for them. The racket was simply horrendous!
“But after that trip I knew we’d be friends for life.
“He was always there for me, always encouraging me as I tried to get back to fitness.”
Dad-of-five Coisty has also become a national treasure off the pitch with his work on A Question Of Sport, the McCoist & MacAulay chat show, and A Shot At Glory movie with Hollywood legend Robert Duvall.
Former team-mate Durrant said: “I’m sure Viv and the kids will have something planned for his birthday and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.”
Keep up to date with ALL the latest news and transfers at the Scottish Sun football page