Rangers legend Ally McCoist has admitted his surprise at the omission of Aaron Ramsey and Kemar Roofe from Rangers’ starting line-up in Wednesday night’s Europa League final defeat.
Rangers were badly beaten on penalties by Eintracht Frankfurt after the sides were tied 1-1 at the end of extra time in Sevilla.
Joe Aribo fired Rangers ahead just before the hour mark before Rafael Borre leveled for the Germans 12 minutes later.
In the tense penalty shoot-out, Ramsey – brought on in the 117th minute – was the only player missed from the spot, prompting criticism of the Welshman and his move to Glasgow.
But McCoist was surprised to see the former Arsenal man used sparingly on the night, having apparently proved his fitness by playing 60 minutes in Saturday’s 3-1 Scottish Premiership win over Hearts.
“I was surprised,” McCoist said of Ramsey’s omission. “We don’t know the actual physical situation, we don’t know how fit these guys are, but he played at the weekend.
“I was probably more surprised there was no Kemar Roofe,” added McCoist of the frontman, who was declared fit on the bench after a stint on the sidelines.
“Joe Aribo has done reasonably well in this position. [striker]. However, if you play as a centre-forward [referring to Roofe] who knows the position, plays the position, it’s the one that probably surprised me the most.
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McCoist felt Rangers looked more dangerous as the game progressed, but regretted Ryan Kent’s great chance to win the game in the dying moments of extra time.
The former Gers striker said: “I thought they started better than us and to be honest with you I thought we finished better than them. I thought with the extra time we were stronger.
“And obviously, with the big chance with minutes to go, that’s the one where Roofe came in, cut him off and Kent, if anything, met him too well and the keeper made a great save. “
Eintracht kept their cool to convert all five of their shots on goal and the Ibrox legend was full of praise for the quality displayed in the shootout.
“I don’t think I’ve seen in a penalty competition five best penalties2,” he said.
“Believe it or not, you feel like [Rangers goalkeeper, Allan] McGregor on penalties, he’s a brilliant goalkeeper but you don’t have a chance; unrecoverable. They flew in the upper corner and the lower corner.
Rangers defender Calvin Bassey received rave reviews after his performance at Sevilla and McCoist believes the 22-year-old could fit into any team based on his latest exploits.
“What about this performance, he was absolutely scary, he goes anywhere on this performance.” he added.
The Rangers manager must somehow lift his dispirited side ahead of this weekend’s Scottish Cup final against Hearts, which presents the club’s last chance to clinch silverware this season after relinquishing the league title to Old Firm rivals Celtic.