Rangers manager Ally McCoist praises lion-heart Sone Aluko

Aluko (left) has words with referee Brines (right) at half-time
Aluko (left) has words with referee Brines (right) at half-time

Ally McCoist exonerated Sone Aluko from accusations of diving and said the forward exemplified Rangers' spirit as they defeated Motherwell 2-1.

Aluko was booked for a dive by Iain Brines when it looked like the Nigerian had been clipped by goalkeeper Darren Randolph with the scores tied at 1-1.

"I thought not only was it a penalty, I thought the booking was extremely harsh," the manager told BBC Scotland.

"In terms of heart and performance, he put in a real lion's performance."

McCoist revealed that he had spoken to Brines after the game about the yellow card.

"I've gone to see the referee and asked for a chat and Iain was great, he let me into his room and we had a wee talk about it," said the manager.

"He saw it as simulation. I, of course, didn't.

"I said to Iain I can totally understand referees not giving penalties, that's part and parcel of the game, but I feel for the kid because that's a booking for simulation yet he's got a big stud mark on his thigh, which indicates there was contact.

"He had the heart of a lion. He was getting fouled, he kept taking the ball, he kept running in behind people and was unlucky not to get the penalty and helped in the second goal."

Motherwell had taken an early lead through Henrik Ojamaa, but Steven Whittaker equalised minutes later and Lee McCulloch grabbed the winner with seconds remaining.

"I'm thrilled at the result," said McCoist. "Motherwell were very, very good. We knew they would give us a tough game - they always do here.

"It certainly wasn't pretty at times and it certainly wasn't silky, but I thought it was a great SPL game.

"I felt it must have been a really good game to watch. It was like two big heavyweights having a real go at one another.

"I don't think either team wilted and we just got the break at the end of the game."

Rangers' administrator wants the three parties still bidding to take over the club to submit their final offers by Wednesday.

McCoist is hopeful that the club's finances can be stabilised soon and that the present squad can be retained.

"I'll hopefully be meeting one or two purchasers in the next couple of days," he said

"I am like every Rangers fan. I want us bought over and I want us bought over now.

"But the most important thing is that it is done in the right way and the right people take over the club.

"They are a good squad of players and obviously, as manager of the club, I want to look after them and I want them to stay and progress with us.

"We have got some great players and have some good kids coming through as well, we've got a nice mixture.

"In an ideal world, we just need a new owner or owners that'll help us invest and strengthen and I honestly feel we'll not be too far away."

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