McCoist feeling pressure at broke Rangers
Rangers had to launch an emergency share issue last month to pay September’s wages
Rangers boss Ally McCoist has confirmed he spent “a few quid” on buying up shares in the club’s open offer this month. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.
Ally McCoist today insisted his job is not “bombproof” as he dismissed suggestions Rangers’ desperate financial position is the only thing preventing him from being sacked.
But he did admit he will accept any road back to Scotland’s top flight — even if it means using the play-offs to finally reclaim the Ibrox side’s Premiership place. McCoist has come under a wave of flak from supporters since Monday’s dismal 3-1 defeat to Hibernian.
His team have already lost at home to Hearts this season and now trail their Scottish Championship rivals by six points. But the Light Blues boss hit back at claims the hefty settlement package he would be due as part of his £400,000-a-year contract had made the Ibrox board think twice about handing him his P45.
Rangers were forced to launch an emergency share issue last month in order to pay September’s wages and will have to do the same again before the year is out.
“I don’t think anyone is bombproof,” said McCoist. “I wouldn’t sit here for a minute and say I’m bombproof. I’m still wearing the flak jacket but nobody is bombproof.”
Asked if he would consider quitting if he lost the support of the Gers faithful, McCoist replied: “That’s a hypothetical question which I wouldn’t answer.” Neither did the club’s all-time record goalscorer let himself be riled by the barrage of complaints which have poured in his direction since losing to Alan Stubbs’ men.
Former Scotland midfielder Michael Stewart even claimed in a national newspaper column this week that McCoist was failing as a manager by not training his players properly. But the Ibrox boss said: “I will tell you the truth, I genuinely don’t care about the criticism and I’ll tell you why. If Walter Smith can get stick here winning nine (SPL titles) in a row and getting to the UEFA Cup final, then it’s fair to say I will receive a certain degree of criticism.
“I respect everyone’s opinion but I don’t necessarily agree with it. I’m always under pressure. I have never felt under more pressure or any less pressure. I just want to get the job done.”
Monday’s display may have been woeful but Rangers still sit second in the promotion battle. With three further matches against Robbie Neilson’s unbeaten Gorgie troops to come, the League One champions could yet fight their way back into contention.
But McCoist claims he would take promotion by the play-off back door if his side fail to reign in their title rivals.
“Relying on the play-offs is not out of the question because getting out of the division is the most important thing,” he said ahead of Saturday’s trip to Livingston.
“We will take whatever we can to get out of this division because it is so important for the club to get back into the top flight as soon as possible.”
Rangers will head along the M8 to the Energy Assets Arena without defender Bilel Mohsni after he was given a three-game ban for lashing out at Hibs defender Liam Fontaine in the seconds after Nicky Law had struck the hosts’ consolation effort.
It was the Tunisian’s second moment of madness in little more than three months after he headbutted Derby’s Chris Martin during a pre-season friendly. But McCoist insists Monday’s incident came after his player was provoked.
“He should not have reacted when the Hibs player punched the ball out of his hands and grabbed him round the waist,” said the boss, who admits he is also “hopeful” that Kris Boyd will win his appeal after he was charged with headbutting Jordan Foster.
“But I don’t think there is any doubt he was provoked. He has let himself down a couple of times recently, particularly at Derby, but I have got more sympathy for him from Monday’s incident than I did at Derby.”
Meanwhile, McCoist believes Rangers should take any investment made available to them — including from Mike Ashley. The Newcastle United owner splashed out £850,000 on Tuesday as he doubled his Ibrox stake to 8.92 per cent by buying four million existing shares from investment group Hargreave Hale. But the Sports Direct tycoon’s purchase came just weeks after he snubbed the opportunity to invest directly in the club when it put 15million fresh stocks up for sale.
McCoist, however, said: “It’s fair to say we could do with investment. It’s not my job to get that investment but with my manager’s hat on I would gladly hope we can get investment from whatever quarter. “I don’t know the ins or outs of the shares being bought this week but all I would say is that we definitely, definitely will need investment.