Gers defending upsets McCoist

Ally McCoist says his Rangers defenders will have to step up their game if they want to win the Scottish Championship this season.

McCoist was not best pleased with his side's overall performance despite twice coming back from a deficit to beat Queen of the South 4-2 at Ibrox.

And it was his defenders who bore the brunt of the criticism for leaving Gavin Reilly and Iain Russell in yards of space to put the visitors in front.

Marius Zaliukas, who scored Rangers' first equaliser, was hauled off at half-time as Lee McCulloch moved back to the heart of their back-four and another early sub David Templeton lashed home seconds after coming on as the home side dominated the second 45 minutes.

McCoist said: "The level of performance in the first half wasn't good enough, but if we are going to defend like that we are going to give ourselves a mountain to climb.

"The two goals we lost frankly were, dear me, inexcusable really.

"The (half-time) substitutions were tactical and they were down to the substandard performance in the first half. We felt we had to make changes.

"It's not as simple as a criticism of the two lads that went off. Absolutely far from it because we live and die as a team and a squad, but we just felt we had to make changes to alter the shape and tempo of the team.

"As negative as I sounded about the first half, I'd have to be equally positive about the second half. The reaction from the team was first class. We looked a different side, miles better defensively and offensively."

McCoist reserved praise for Templeton, although he is concerned about an ankle injury he suffered that forced him off and saw Kenny Miller come on.

"I thought he scored as good a goal as we'll see in a long time and I thought after that, he is very much a confidence player, and he plays on his confidence," McCoist added.

"He was going inside and outside and that substitution in particular had a big bearing on the game.

"He got an ankle knock. I'm hoping it's just a knock but I think he twisted it ever so slightly. He wanted to stay on but I had to make the substitution. He is sitting with a big ice pack on."

Doonhamers manager Jim McIntyre was equally upset with his own side's defending, as he said: "The disappointing thing for us is the two goals we lost from set plays. We know Rangers are very strong at that but we felt we should have dealt with that better.

"We knew we could cause Rangers problems and we certainly did that first half on numerous occasions. I just felt we could have gone forward quicker on other occasions and it came back to bite us."