Don't write off wounded Rangers, says McCoist

04 March 2012 03:46

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has warned those who are lining up to have a kick at the crisis-hit Ibrox club that they won't be down for long.

McCoist was speaking after watching his makeshift Rangers side fail to lighten the ever-darkening storm clouds gathering over Ibrox as they lost 2-1 to Hearts in what was their third successive home defeat.

With player cuts looming large, Rangers fielded an unfamiliar line-up made up of several youngsters and took a first half lead through Steven Davis before Ian Black and Jamie Hammill gave Hearts the win.

The defeat stretched Celtic's lead at the top to 21 points despite their 17-game winning run in the Scottish Premier League coming to an end after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

In recent weeks Celtic manager Neil Lennon called for Rangers to be retrospectively stripped of their "tainted titles and trophies" won between 2001 and 2010 if found guilty of "financial doping".

That barb was a reference to the tribunal into Rangers' use of Employee Benefit Trusts between 2001 and 2010, which could land the Ibrox club with a £75million tax bill.

With Rangers at perhaps their lowest ebb in their 140-year history McCoist hit out at those he feels have been revelling in Rangers' demise and in a veiled dig at Lennon warned those criticising his club that the Scottish champions wouldn't be down for long.

"I think at this moment in time we are wounded, there is no doubt about it," the Rangers manager said.

"There's probably one or two people out there enjoying it and maybe one or two people taking a wee fly kick.

"I would suggest to them to have a right good kick just now because we won't be where we are for long."

Meanwhile Rangers' administrators said they expect to announce an agreement on job cuts at the club on Monday.

Duff and Phelps turned down a players' union offer of substantial salary deferrals on Friday saying a higher level of cost base would hinder the sale of the club.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's match, joint administrator David Whitehouse said it was likely there would be some job losses as they look to deliver £1 million a month cost savings.

However, manager McCoist said he had not accepted that redundancies were inevitable.

"I've had meetings with the administrators and indeed the staff and the Scottish Professional Footballers Association (SPFA) for the vast majority of the week," the manager said.

"There have been one or two options put forward and discussions have been ongoing and all the conversations have been very frank and open.

"I'm very hopeful that there can be ongoing discussions between all the parties; the players, administrators, the SPFA and myself.

"We can always push to get a better deal for everybody. Obviously, the ideal situation is absolutely no job losses at all. The next best situation is absolute minimal job losses.

"It's been really difficult for everybody but the one thing I would do is pay tribute to the entire staff. In what can only be described as extremely difficult circumstances an inner strength to keep going for each other is really evident.

"Morale is very strong and it will help us get through it."

The club's administrators said there is "a material level of interest" from potential buyers with best offers invited by March 16 but they admitted getting the club out of administration with signed-off accounts by the end of March was "going to be a challenge".

The ability to meet the March 31 deadline will dictate whether Rangers can take part in European competition next season.

If the deadline is missed then it would be the first season since 1980 that the Glasgow giants have failed to take part in European competition

Despite this McCoist says any interest in the club should be viewed as a plus.

"I think obviously anything that moves us forward would be regarded as a positive," the Rangers manager said.

"I would have to say it would be extremely positive if someone came in with investment for the club and took over and took the club forward.

"I'm absolutely 100 per cent confident that our football club will continue. I'm not sure in what way, shape or form it will continue but our football club will absolutely continue.

"And every supporter to a man will continue to follow us in whatever way, shape or form we are."

Source: AFP