The unlikely rivalry of Eagles and the Seagulls dates back to 1976 – but Rangers legend McCoist finds it exhilarating
Ally McCoist reacted with disbelief when he was told of Crystal Palace and the unlikely rivalry of Brighton, in view of their Saturday "derby".
Brighton celebrates the 45-mile trip to Selhurst Park this weekend in the latest edition of the bird battle – with LIVE and EXCLUSIVE comments on talkSPORT!
Most of the big football rivalries are teams that fight for local supremacy or are involved in long years of intense competition for trophies.
Think of Liverpool vs Manchester United, Arsenal vs Tottenham, Barcelona vs Real Madrid and Celtic vs Rangers.
Nor is it true of the rivalry of Palace with Brighton – born from a single season in 1976/77 when the clubs named rival managers Terry Venables (Palazzo) and Alan Mullery (Brighton) and clashed for promotion from then the third division.
Both teams have achieved their goal, although Mansfield actually won the championship that year, but the two clubs have been bitter enemies by the end of the season.
Even Palace and Brighton were together in the first round of the FA Cup that season – after two draws and the second replay was delayed twice due to bad weather and in the end it was played at Stamford Bridge – Crystal Palace won 1 – 0 after Brighton has been controversially denied a late penalty.
Even Mullery admitted that he did not understand why the two clubs became such fierce enemies: "I find it very difficult to understand what their problem was," he told the Guardian in 2011.
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"Portsmouth and Brighton are 20 miles away, Arsenal and Tottenham are about three miles away, and when you have clubs 45 miles away, it seems a little silly.
"I do not think it was just the Cup race that started, I think it was the rivalry between their manager and me, that's where the rivalry came in. Because we were in the same league, doing the same thing – trying to get into the First Division at the same time. "
And the Rangers McCoist legend – who certainly knows what a derby is – says he does not have it!
LISTEN TO LIVE: tune in to talkSPORT for Crystal Palace v Brighton, Saturday 9 March, start at 12:30 pm