Ally McCoist recalls the time he found Gazza in his kitchen
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Ally McCoist has become one of the most beloved pundits in British football with his infectious enthusiasm a big hit with fans. Part of his appeal is his love for storytelling and he is not afraid to share hilarious tales from his playing career. Here Express Sport looks at three of his best ahead of his FA Cup commentary this weekend.
Paul Gascoigne in his fridge at 3am
McCoist and Gascoigne played alongside each other at Rangers and the pair of them struck up a close relationship as the two jokers of the squad. The Englishman perhaps made himself too comfortable in the striker’s company rocking up at his house in the middle of the night just to make himself a sandwich.
“You hear someone downstairs in your house at half three in the morning, you don’t wanna wish this on anybody, seriously,” McCoist told talkSPORT. “I go down the stairs with this three iron, and I think ‘what I am going to do here?’
“I go flying into the kitchen, lights on, and all I can see is Gazza in my fridge. He said ‘I’m making myself a sandwich’, as if I’m the idiot … and I go ‘oh OK’ and headed back upstairs.
Even McCoist’s wife was not surprised by the development simply rolling over and coming back to sleep like it was the most normal thing in the world.
“She says ‘who is it?’,” McCoist continued. “I said ‘It’s Paul’. “She says ‘what’s he doing?’. I said ‘he’s making himself a sandwich’, and she goes ‘alright then’.”
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Getting snapped by Gennaro Gattuso in training
Rangers’ training sessions could regularly be brutal especially in the build-up to an Old Firm game with so much on the line. McCoist found out to his peril during Gattuso’s one season with the Gers as Gascoigne again pulled a prank to make the midfielder crunch into challenges even more than usual by taking advantage of his knowledge of Italian.
“Ah, Gattuso – a more competitive footballer I don’t think I ever played with,” McCoist explained. “He was unbelievable. As you would imagine and hope, he trained as he played.
“So this is a Tuesday or a Wednesday and we’ve got the Old Firm game coming up at the weekend and Gattuso is running around absolutely scything people – a real terrier type.
“I don’t have to tell you that Walter’s [Smith] going off his head! He says: ‘We’ve got a game at the weekend, we’re playing Celtic! We need to watch some of these tackles!’
“So he says to Gascoigne: ‘Hey, Gazza! You speak a bit of Italian? Tell Gattuso to calm down, there’s a game at the weekend’ There’s your first mistake. “Wrong man. I mean, Walter should have known better. It was naivety at best on Walter’s part!
“So what does Gascoigne do in broken Italian? “He tells Gattuso: ‘the manager wants more off you. If you want to play at the weekend you need to show a level of commitment in training’.
“Two minutes later, the ball gets played up to me and I’m wearing six studs down my chest where he tackles me!”
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Becoming Hearts mascot ‘Hearty Harry’
McCoist ended up in the frankly bizarre position of becoming Hearts mascot ‘Hearty Harry’ after one too many beers during a day out in the Scottish capital in 1996. The forward was still a Rangers player at the time but took to the pitch before kick-off in the Edinburgh Derby dressed as a massive child.
“Just to let the listeners know, I’d had one or two refreshments by the way, and Hearty Harry was getting changed in the room next to me. I looked at him, and he looked at me. He shook his head and went ‘No’, and I nodded and went ‘Yes’.
“Five minutes later I was dancing about Tynecastle with a Hearty Harry outfit on. Honest to God it was priceless. I went out and the guy said ‘Just to let the supporters know today, a very special surprise for you today, it’s Hearty Harry who is none other than Rangers centre forward Ally McCoist ‘.
“I swear to God there was about, I don’t know, 30,000 at the game. There were about five Hearts fans who started clapping going ‘Aye alright Ally, not bad’, and I turned around and the entire Hibs end was giving me it tight.”
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