Rangers manager Ally McCoist has told his players they must adapt to their Irn-Bru Third Division environment as they prepare for their fifth attempt to win away from Ibrox.
Rangers moved top of the table with a 2-0 home win over Queen's Park on Saturday, but they will probably need to break their duck on the road to stay there after the weekend. Broadwood is the latest venue as Rangers look to atone for their defeat at Stirling earlier this month, and although Clyde's pitch is one of the largest in the bottom tier, it comes with artificial turf.
McCoist felt such a surface may have played a part in the ankle ligament injury suffered by David Templeton at Annan in September, which is still keeping the winger out. But he appreciates that such pitches are part of the package in the Third Division.
"At this level, it's easy for me to say I'm against them because of the injury we had to Temps," said McCoist, as he confirmed ABF The Soldiers' Charity as the Rangers Charity Foundation's new partner. "Generally speaking I am against them, I don't have my boys training on them at all and we've got a couple of artificial surfaces at Murray Park.
"That said, I do appreciate the value they have both at the SFL3 clubs and smaller divisions, and also to the community within that region. I do understand how important they are and I'm not saying I'm totally against them and we shouldn't be playing on them. What I'm saying is I'd rather my team didn't play on them but I do understand their pluses."
As well as the pitches, Rangers goalkeeper Neil Alexander also feels the Third Division has a different refereeing culture, arguing that two Stirling players should have been sent off in his side's 1-0 defeat.
Most of the referees who have taken charge of Rangers' games have also controlled Scottish Premier League games though, and McCoist admits his players need to become accustomed to their level of football.
"There's nothing I can do about it, they're the only ones who can do something about it and that's not moaning at the refs, it's just getting on with it," McCoist said.
"It's a man's game and I've said for a while now that the art of tackling is diminishing because you're not allowed to touch each other. There has been one or two incidents in our last couple of weeks where I could have maybe eaten my words.
"But that's fine, that's the way the boys play the game and we just have to adapt to that. They don't have to adapt to us, we have to adapt to them."
- Sports & Recreation
- Ally McCoist