Alan Stubbs knows he’ll be the man all Rangers fans love to hate as he stands on the touchline at Ibrox on Monday – but he won’t flinch an inch as he gives his team all the support he can.
The former Celtic defender, who has been playing mind games with Rangers boss Mark Warburton in the build-up to this Championship showdown, said: “The last time we were there, their fans were singing ‘Alan Stubbs you’re a w****r’, but I thought it was great. I really did because for me that was a sign of respect.
“I really can’t wait for Monday. I’ll go toe-to-toe. I’ll be there supporting my team. There’s no way I am going to take a step back and leave my team. I’ll be right there with them on the touchline trying to get them over the line. I love working with them, I love seeing them improve. That energises me more than anything. Seeing them win on a Saturday is fantastic because it’s a reward for your week’s training,
“But my team keeps me going, they keep me focused. They give me that burning desire that I have to do my best every day – because they deserve it.”
And although he knows he’ll again be subjected to abuse from the home fans, Stubbs revealed he was grateful for the backing he received from those self-same supporters when, while playing for Celtic, he battled cancer.
He said: “I got hundreds and hundreds of ‘get well soon’ cards from them. There was a banner up at the stadium at one of the games saying the same thing. So for all that’s said, deep down, they are good fans. They’re not as bad as what people say.” Stubbs, however, couldn’t resist one last barb in the direction of Warburton who has accused him of dabbling in “amateur psychology level one”. He said: “I’ve always said – and if you look back you’ll find it – that Rangers are a fantastic club.
“There’s no denying that, I’ve been very respectful to them. And I do mention their club – Mark doesn’t like mentioning Hibernian Football Club. We’re the other team.
“But I’ve got no problem mentioning Rangers Football Club, it’s a fantastic club and that another team behind them, and that other team behind us, we’re doing okay.”
Despite their war of words, Stubbs insisted he’ll enjoy a Christmas drink with Warburton after Monday’s match, but admitted the pair are no bosom-buddies.
He said: “No, we don’t socialise together. I’ll have a drink with him after the game, I have no problem whatsoever. But I am a winner, I’m not here to be someone’s best friend.
“I am here to do the best I can for my football club and for my players. I had a wining mentality as a player, it was probably one of my best assets. I hated losing.
“I have mellowed because I was terrible on the training pitch sometimes, I was a moaner. But I desperately want to win.”