ALLY McCoist has concluded his agreement on a reduced terms contract as Rangers manager but is still waiting to discover how cost-cutting measures at the Ibrox club will affect his first team squad.
Recently appointed chief executive Graham Wallace held talks with McCoist this week as he looks to address the financial problems at Rangers, who reported a loss of £14.4 million in their annual accounts last year. Wallace told the club’s annual general meeting in December that their current operating structure was too high for one playing in the Scottish Premiership, let alone League 1 where they are this season.
McCoist had previously stated his willingness to re-negotiate his own contract, which the club’s annual report revealed earned him £825,000 a year. He is understood to have taken a cut of around 50 per cent, which was confirmed at his meeting with Wallace. “It’s all done and agreed with Graham, so it’s sorted,” said McCoist. He now remains hopeful of reaching common ground with Wallace regarding the size and cost-base of the club’s playing staff as Rangers attempt to return to the top flight of Scottish football in 18 months’ time.
“I had a lengthy meeting with Graham,” added McCoist. “The vast majority of it was just the two of us and the discussions are ongoing. There is nothing concrete – nothing is set in stone. He hasn’t told me I need to sell players or get rid of them.
“It was just an overall view of the football side and we will meet again next week. When there is something to say, we will do that. But there was no ‘You need to sell this one or that one’, or ‘You need to cut this by that’. It wasn’t like that at all.
“Graham said at the agm that there would need to be cuts, so that’s fine. He’s made that public. He hasn’t made it known to me where those cuts are going to take place, and in what shape or form. Graham is aware that in an ideal world we would be building a team and a squad for next season and hopefully the years after. It would make sense to Graham and he has said that, contrary to what people have said, just cutting and selling is not the right way to go about it in terms of the progression of the club, the team and the squad going forward.
“He’s aware of what could have an adverse effect as much as a positive effect – short-term and in a longer-term situation. We sat and spoke football, talked about where we are and where we were. We also spoke about where we definitely need to be long term. It’s just a matter of getting the right ingredients to finish that off.
“If you need to take one step back to take two or three forward again, that will be Graham’s decision. Without stating the obvious, we can’t go down the same road we were in before. The stability of the club moving forward is of paramount importance to the staff and the fans.
“The fact there was nothing concrete coming out the first meeting would indicate the importance of the situation. Graham is certainly fully aware of how important the decisions made just now will be for the short, medium and long term.”
As he continues to wrestle with the fall-out from Rangers’ financial collapse, McCoist also expressed his sympathy for his Hearts counterpart Gary Locke as the Tynecastle club retain hopes of being allowed to recruit new players this month despite their current transfer embargo. The SPFL board are due to meet on Monday when their response to any new request from Hearts’ administrators BDO to sign players under “exceptional circumstances”. But although McCoist empathises with the difficulties being faced by Locke, he believes the SPFL are unlikely to relax their position.
“I think they (the SPFL) have to show consistency with their decisions and they will probably do that,” said McCoist. “That’s not me saying they shouldn’t help Hearts, I just think they have to show a level of consistency and you’ll probably find St Mirren, Kilmarnock and Ross County supporters think exactly the same. I’ve got massive amounts of sympathy for Gary, Billy Brown and the Hearts players and staff. I think their boys are doing really, really well in the circumstances. Whether the authorities are getting it right with the punishments for administration is up for debate.
“I think a transfer embargo hurts more than a points deduction. We are in a different situation from Hearts and Gary might see it differently. But we could have got away with a 15-point deduction last year, because we won our division by 24 points.”