RANGERS have been blessed with brilliant goalscorers during their 150-year history but none quite compare to Ally McCoist.

Signed from Sunderland in 1983, Super Ally would go on from a sticky start to become an Ibrox great, netting a record 355 goals during his 15-year stay at his boyhood heroes.

He’d win the European Golden Boot two years running and be an integral part of the famous Rangers side that achieved 9-in-a-row.

As a striker, he was something special but just what was he like to play against?

To mark the legend's 59th birthday, we spoke to five of his opponents to get a handle on how difficult it was to keep a handle on the modern Scottish game's most explosive goalscorer.

John Martin - Ex-Airdrie goalkeeper

“It was great to play against him because I was a Rangers man. Don’t get me wrong he scored a couple of goals against me but I saved a few as well. Around the box and the six-yard area, he knew where he was going and nine times out of ten when the ball came in he would score.

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“I think it was Ibrox we were at one time and we used to have a wee bit of a laugh and I said, ‘Come fucking near me again’, and he said, ‘I’m no coming near you big man you’re all right’.

“I used to try and have a laugh with him and it’s quite funny because the Airdrie fans used to shout, ‘Jonny, Jonny swing on the bar!’ but I couldn’t swing on the bar when Ally was hovering about on the fucking 18-yard box.

“I remember the 1992 Scottish Cup final when Hateley and McCoist scored the goals. That day, he actually gave me his top, he signed it and I auctioned it off and the money went to charity so that was good.

“There was another time, I think he was playing with Kilmarnock and it was a corner and I just looked at Ally and he looked at me and we laughed. It had been pissing with rain and it was freezing so Ally’s looked away, I’ve got my water bottle and I’ve gone, ‘Ally?’ and he looked and I just squirted him with the water bottle, all the players were laughing, he was like ‘Ah, ya bastard, I’ll get you!’”

“I’ve also played with him, that was when we were in the film, A Shot at Glory, for Kilnockie so that was funny. We were going up to Crail to do some filming and Ally got a better hotel than me. I went up and Ally said, ‘I’m in the next hotel down, I’ll come up and we’ll have a couple of beers’, so I went, ‘Aye, nae bother’. I get in my room, I drop off my stuff, go down into the bar and right enough Ally came in and we had a few beers which was good.”

John Hughes - Ex-Falkirk and Celtic

“I played against many a striker that was right-footed, if it’s on their left side they’ll take a touch to take it back on their right so you as a defender get a chance to get back to him. But Coisty could hit with his left foot or his right. He wasn’t bad in the air as well.

“His movement was fantastic, he never played on the shoulder all the time, he was always getting across you.

"Don’t let anybody kid you on that Coisty was just a wee shrinking violet upfront, he put himself about. And there was plenty of banter, always, always banter and it was just that smile. The two of us used to smile when playing so it was just that mutual smile, that look and that banter - it was great.

“Coisty can play the fool, we can all play the fool, we all like a laugh but he’s a clever, clever boy. He’s one switched on guy and I like listening to him, even now when he’s doing the commentary.

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“If you were focused, he was always in your ear, ‘What’s the matter with you? Are you not talking today? You went big-time?’, and all that stuff, I’d be like, ‘Shut the fuck up!’ He would just start laughing because he was looking to get a reaction.

“He’d say ‘Big Hateley’s the man for you, big Hateley’s got you on the list’ and all that, I thought, ‘Here we go!’, but you had to keep your concentration because the next minute he’d be in with a chance.

“I can remember when I scored in the Old Firm game, we took the centre and I had come back into position and obviously you sort of mark up again and he actually said, ‘Delighted for you, absolutely delighted for you’.

“Then two minutes later I think it was Gascoigne hit the crossbar and that look that he gives you and that smile as if to say 'your glory was just about taken away from you!'.

“The two of us played the game as it should be played, we got stuck into each other but we had a mutual respect, the two of us liked a smile and I used to just shake my head and start laughing and the two of us loved it. He’s right up there with the best I ever played against, he just knew how to get the ball in the net, he had that knack.

Rangers Review: McCoist gets the better of John Hughes during an Old Firm tussleMcCoist gets the better of John Hughes during an Old Firm tussle

“I remember Rangers beat us 2-1 in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup when I was at Celtic. I think for one of the goals the ball came in and it got played out. We came out as a defence, it got played back in and guess who’s on the back post? Coisty to head it in.

“You’re saying to yourself, ‘Fucking hell, he’s just like a magnet, he’s like an absolute magnet.’

“I always knew he would be the Rangers manager at one point and I just think he got that opportunity at the wrong time. I’ve got to know him a lot, lot better doing our coaching badges over the years and I can’t speak highly enough of him, he’s a Rangers legend.

“All he needs to do is embrace the baldness, he’s trying to cover it up. He needs to embrace it. Coisty stop covering it up!”

Ramon Vega - Ex-Switzerland and Celtic

“Ally was very fast in terms of quick thinking and his movement. He was a very opportunistic striker in terms of seeing the angle and seeing the opportunity and when to strike.

“He was very difficult to play against because he could hide and then suddenly he was there and he scores and he did that against us. He was unpredictable.

"While he was a typical 18-yard box striker but sometimes of course he could have a good shot outside the 18-yard box as well. We never thought in a hundred million years that he was going to have a shot from 25 yards (In Euro 96).

"As a defender, you were like, ‘What? What is he doing here?’ I didn’t even know he had the power to do that and I’ll be honest with you, I think he was surprised himself.

“He was a proper 18-yard box, 6-yard box kind of striker, tap ins, ghosting in before a defender, that’s what Ally McCoist is, you would never think of him coming out 25 yards and having a strike.

“I’m not quite sure which type of Swiss cheese he was eating before our game!

Rangers Review: McCoist fires Scotland ahead against Switzerland at Euro 96McCoist fires Scotland ahead against Switzerland at Euro 96

“He was like a pundit on the pitch as well. He was blabbering around me in Scottish and the only thing I could hear was expletives so I was like, ‘Ok, you continue saying that’. But I couldn’t understand a single word. Ally as a character is a fun personality himself. I think it’s one of his characteristics to wind people up and as a striker, take the tension away from the game so he can take an advantage and dart from a defender. That’s typical Ally.”

Sieb Dijkstra - Ex-Motherwell and Dundee United goalkeeper

“He was a typical goal poacher, he was always in the right place. He knew exactly where the ball was coming. He had almost a sixth sense about it but apart from that, he was a really nice man off the pitch.

“I spoke to him a few times and obviously he was a close friend of Davie Cooper who I was very friendly with so I saw Ally off the park a lot of times in Hamilton and in Glasgow. Sometimes we went out for dinner together, Ally was always taking the microphone for the karaoke! He was good fun to be around with that’s for sure. He wasn’t short of jokes also, he was a really nice bloke.

“He tried to wind me up on the park but I didn’t give him any attention, he always tried to put me off my concentration but I never let him get to me. Also when the back pass was brought in, he was always sniffing around anticipating a bad pass and he would often squeeze in and nip the ball off your feet and score.

“I made a few good saves from Ally though, in one of my last games for Motherwell when we beat Rangers 1-0, I remember making a save when I was one against one with Ally, he tried to get past me and I just nicked the ball off his feet. He’s one of the best strikers that I played against because he was so accurate in his finishing.”

Jon Newsome - Ex-Leeds United

“The Battle of Britain was the first time I played against him. He and Hateley were both great strikers and they formed a great partnership together. Obviously we were aware that they were a good side at the time and we knew it was going to be a tough game.

“It was exacerbated because there were no away fans so when we went up there it was a really hostile environment to play in, it was quite surreal. The thing about Ally, especially when he was at Rangers, he played with lots of confidence, he had confidence in his ability and that for me is key in any player really. Confidence is a massive thing, so as a striker if you’ve got belief in yourself and confident you’re going to get chances and stick them away I think that’s half the job done really. He had that in abundance playing for Rangers.

“He had good movement, he and Hateley were both athletic and they got around the pitch. The thing with Howard Wilkinson was every game we went into there was no stone unturned.

Rangers Review: McCoist takes on Leeds United's Jon Newsome during their Champions League qualifer at IbroxMcCoist takes on Leeds United's Jon Newsome during their Champions League qualifer at Ibrox

“Sometimes when you’re playing games against people that you’re not too aware of or too knowledgeable of but people like Rangers and McCoist and Hateley, as a centre half or a defender who was playing in the Premier League, if you didn’t know what those players were about, you weren’t doing your job right.

“The goals at Elland Road, Mark Hateley hit a left-foot volley over his shoulder and it’s gone in off the top of the post in the top corner and you’re going, ‘Phwoar, that’s like a one-in-a-million chance that’s going to happen’ and then we’re pushing to try and get back in the game and they just hit us on the counter and McCoist scored with a diving header.”

Ray Montgomerie - Ex-Kilmarnock

“I was one of the few defenders he never scored against. I always took the mickey out of him when he came to Kilmarnock as a teammate that he never ever scored against me, I always reminded him of that.

“But his record speaks for itself, he was a great player and a great servant to Rangers. He was one of the best goalscorers I came up against.

“He was a bubbly sort of character, he’d always try to crack a wee joke with you when you were playing or rub you up the wrong way. That was all to break your concentration so there was a method to his madness.

“I just totally blanked not only him but all of my opponents so I didn’t have to encounter that.

“But you could never give him a minute, in that box he was deadly. He missed as many as he scored as well. When you think of his goal tally in his career, think of the ones he missed because he could’ve had so many more.

“I always remember one game that springs to mind when we played Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-final replay at Hampden in 1993-94, we were beating Rangers 1-0 at the time.

“Mark Hateley scored that goal that never crossed the line but the officials said it did. I remember we were taking the ball back to the centre circle and Ally passed me and he was saying to me, ‘Never in Ray, never in, that was the wrong decision there big man!’ That was Ally, he was always cracking the jokes.

“Then obviously he came here as a player with Durranty. It was phenomenal the interest they created when they came. He had this jovial attitude, he never ever turned up on time at any event or anything like that, he’d always be late coming into training but he’d get away with it.

“His first day at training at Rugby Park, we start training at 10 o’clock and Coisty’s not there so he eventually comes in and Bobby Williamson comes in and starts to be all serious, ‘Oi, that’s a fine! You need to pay a tenner for being late’

“Ally went over to the treatment table in the middle of the dressing room floor and started counting out 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and said, ‘That’ll see me all week Bobby!’

“I remember we were out doing a training drill one day, just a straight forward crossing and finishing drill and the ball came across the six-yard box from a wide area, the ball must’ve just been maybe two feet from the ground and Ally threw himself down to the near post to put his head to the ball. I just remember saying to myself, ‘Only an idiot would do that’, but that’s an instinctive thing that they do and he was acting purely on instinct.

“If I had been defending the front post my instinct would’ve been to kick his bloody head off! You’ve got to brave to be in a situation like that.

“He took training very seriously, he played the part of a clown but he’s a highly intelligent guy, he knows exactly how to conduct himself and how to treat people.”