Looks like a star sign

Hamed Namouchi adorns the front cover of programme for Rangers v Motherwell, Saturday 17 January, 2004.

Signing of Gavin Rae helps me ditch Thompson tag

For the first time since the bells rang in 2004 we welcome our troops on the Ibrox turf.

Life has not been kind to the Bears lately, with the result at Celtic Park all but killing off our title hopes.

But we have to just keep playing for every point from now until May and hope that the big man upstairs gives us the bit of luck we need to haul our greatest rivals back.

The game at Celtic Park was hard to take but it was the only bad point over the festive period as I enjoyed a nice relaxing break away from the office.

The presents were pretty good too but, unusually for me, I didn’t get a lot of Rangers stuff.

I did, however, receive a rather dashing long-sleeved Ajax top. Like our own kit, the Ajax kit has always struck me as a classic. I couldn’t wait to show it to the oafs at my weekly five-a-side jaunt.  Not many of the beer-bellied hatchet men who partake in our weekly duel at the Cumbernauld Tryst would appreciate the novelty that is Ajax’s “Total Football”.

Indeed some of the tackles that are dished out would make even Vinnie Jones wince.

But I try to educate them and when I lose possession on the edge of my own D, whilst sporting my new top, to a thug who toe-pokes it the ball into the net causing my team mates to howl at me in ridicule and protest, I shall assure them I was right to try and play it out of danger rather than hoof it up the park. My calls will fall on deaf ears but God loves a trier.

That Ajax top was not the only thing that gave me joy over the festive period – the Indiana Jones trilogy DVD also brought a smile to my face. Who can resist these classics?

The final instalment of The Office was also something that made the festive period all the more sweeter. The bungling boss that is David Brent has made us all laugh over the last couple of years and the finale was a fitting one.

However, the biggest plus about my Christmas and New Year period was, as usual, Rangers orientated – the signing of Gavin Rae.

How the Grin and Bear It column appeared on the day.

In years gone by we have signed some influential players over the festive period – Graham Roberts, Nigel Spackman and Mark Walters spring to mind – and if Rae can bring half of what these players brought to Ibrox, then we will have some signing.

But that is not the main reason with me being so happy with the ex-Dundee man coming to Ibrox.

Ever since he made his albeit brief Gers debut, I have had scores of people telling me I am a Rae look-a-like. Hearing that you look like a player from your favourite club is sweet at the best of times, but it is doubly good for me as I’m hoping this will kill off the “you’re Alan Thompson’s double” brigade who have hounded me since the Geordie turned up at Celtic Park.

Being dubbed a Celtic stars’ look-a-like when you are a committed bluenose is no fun, and when the first person said I looked like that new boy at Rangers, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief.

And when the trickle of comments became a flood, I knew I had had exercised the Thompson ghost for good!

Rae has been added to the bulging list of players I have been likened to over the years including Duncan Ferguson, Ally McCoist, Chris Waddle, Neil McCann, Gerry Creaney, Craig Moore and Mark Viduka. It is really strange when you consider that none of them look like each other.

And lets be honest, there ain’t a looker among them!

All those years of leaving nightclubs early and on my own are really starting to make sense if these guys ar the sort of level I’m punching at looks wise. Still, at least Davie Dodds isn’t on my list.

Back to today’s game though, and a Stephen Pearson-less Motherwell are the visitors today. The young star, who for the record, looks nothing like me, recently signed for Celtic – which will explain his exuberant celebrations when he scored against us back in October in the 1-1 draw.

Motherwell have produced a few good young players recently, like Pearson and James McFadden, but you would think that with Terry Butcher running things at Fir Park they’d produce at least one or two good players who are Rangers supporters.

Pearson has shown his true colours with who he signed for, and McFadden was never short of a kind word or two as far as the Hoops were concerned.

Maybe Terry is going soft in his old age.

I certainly can’t imagine the Terry Butcher who nearly decapitated Billy McNeil in the tunnel area after kicking open a door whilst the then Celtic manager was being interviewed live on the BBC immediately after an Old Firm defeat at Celtic Park sharing a dressing room with the followers of the Hoops – let alone picking them for his side.

But as I said, maybe Terry is mellowing with age.

The Light Blues got back on the tracks last week with a good 2-0 victory in the Scottish Cup at Easter Rd, and hopefully we can keep it up today.

Let’s get behind the players but most of all let’s show Alex McLeish that we believe in him.

After all, as his signing of Rae shows, he knows a good looking player when he sees one!