17 Apr I knew better than to argue with Jock Wallace – former Rangers winger Johnston
Former Rangers winger Willie Johnston admits he fell out with a host of managers – but knew better than to argue with Jock Wallace.
Rangers have suspended Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller pending an investigation into claims they undermined manager Graeme Murty during a heated debate following Sunday’s 4-0 William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Celtic.
Johnston had a tempestuous relationship with Willie Waddell but they always made up and ultimately combined to help Rangers win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1972.
“I fell out with a lot of managers, especially with Willie Waddell,” the former Scotland international said.
“But he always said, you can have a great argument in the heat of the moment and the next day it’s all forgotten.
“Waddell was a very good manager, he could handle the players. He had big Jock Wallace beside him and you didn’t argue with big Jock. He’d just hit you.”
There were further signs of strife in the Rangers ranks on Sunday with both Andy Halliday and Daniel Candeias reacting angrily after being substituted and Alfredo Morelos and Greg Docherty arguing as they left the pitch.
But Johnston said: “There’s divisions in every dressing room. The press love it, they get a story and make a big thing of it, but there’s fights and battles in every dressing room, that’s where it counts.
“You could fall out with your best friend. They could put you in a room with boxing gloves and you’d knock the s*** out of each other.”
Johnston was promoting a Legends of Football event at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on October 25 with his former Ibrox team-mate Colin Stein.
Stein agreed that dressing-room disputes were natural but felt there was a line to be drawn when talking to the manager.
“Certainly in my day, if I was arguing with the likes of Willie Waddell and Jock Wallace, the manager would always be right,” he said. “It wouldn’t be the player.
“You have got to get respect from the players if you are a manager.”
Although the pair helped Rangers to their only European trophy, the preceding years were not always successful.
Johnston also played in a 4-0 Hampden defeat by Celtic, in the 1969 Scottish Cup final, during a barren four-year run without a trophy.
And he warned the current Ibrox squad that they will need to be mentally strong and united to bounce back.
“When I played we got beat by Celtic but we tried to come back stronger and make sure that we didn’t make the same mistakes,” Johnston said. “It’s a team game and you have got to stand together.
“It’s very hard. The hardest thing in the world is to go out at Ibrox after getting beat – you go out and if you make a bad pass, you are a bad, bad player.”