BRISTOL Rovers boss Graham Coughlan threatened to cancel Christmas in a bid to spark his side back into life against Southend United.

Coughlan, who spent close to eight years coaching at the Shrimpers before leaving in January 2018, was fuming Rovers found themselves 2-0 down at half-time on Saturday.

And the Irishman did not hold back in a half-time rant which led to the hosts securing a 4-2 victory at the Memorial Stadium.

“I told them their Christmas party was cancelled at half-time,” Coughlan told Bristol Live. 

“I told them I’d see them in the morning, we’d watch the video – the Rocky Horror Show – and go through it and fix it.

“I ain’t having that type of performance in the first half.

“It was lacklustre, it was flat, we couldn’t pass the ball from A to B, we had runners running off us, we were non-existent.”

And Coughlan felt Rovers were fortunate to only be 2-0 down.

“Let’s be straight and honest, we could have been 3-0 down at half-time,” said the 45-year-old.

“We were lucky it was only two.

“That’s not me, that’s not my teams and that’s not that group.

“Maybe they’re going into games thinking they’re top players and thinking we can do this and that.

“Football doesn’t work like that. You come off it and your mentality isn’t right, you see what happens.

“But the lads will go off now, they’ll have their Christmas do and let’s be honest they fully deserve it.”

However, Coughlan will not forget the first half display.

“Nobody at Bristol Rovers Football Club can accept the first half performance because it wasn’t good enough,” said the former Blues defender.

“It wasn’t good enough and I felt embarrassed. I felt the players had pulled my pants down.

“The supporters come here and pay their money and they want effort, but we didn’t deliver until the second half.”

Coughlan, who has Blues legend Kevin Maher as his first team coach, kept Rovers up last season after being named manager in December and now has his side sitting fifth in the League One standings.

In contrast, the struggling Shrimpers remain second from bottom in the standings but Coughlan contacted Echospor after the game to thank Southend’s fans for the warm reception he received.

“I must say thank you to the Southend fans for the reception they gave me at the end,” said Coughlan.

“They’re different class.”