UNDER-FIRE Rangers manager Ally McCoist was dealt another blow yesterday when both Kris Boyd and Bilel Mohsni were charged with violent conduct and handed two-match bans.
The pair have been given until today to accept their fate or face a disciplinary hearing next Thursday.
On a day when the off-field uncertainty rumbled on and mystery enveloped the trade of over four million shares in the club, with fans’ groups threatening to boycott games,
McCoist was left to deal with the repercussions of his players’ indiscipline in Monday night’s defeat by Hibs.
In his first week in the job, the SFA’s new compliance officer Tony McGlennan, who has replaced Vincent Lunny, reacted after studying footage of the Championship clash, citing Boyd for “head-butting or attempting to head-butt” an opponent, while the Tunisian was charged with “striking or attempting to strike an opponent with your arm or hand”.
Rangers lost the match 3-1, leaving them six points behind league leaders Hearts. The players were booed off the pitch at half-time and, in the aftermath, some sections of the support called for McCoist’s dismissal.
He insisted it was still too early in the campaign for any panic but his side need to get back to winning ways quickly to quell the unrest and it looks like they will now have to do so without Boyd and Mohsni.
The defender was condemned by his manager following the game for reckless pre-match comments which McCoist claimed will have offered the Edinburgh side all the incentive they needed. The Ibrox manager also said he would speak to the player after he was involved in an angry altercation with some disgruntled fans as he headed up the tunnel at half-time.
But McCoist will be even less impressed by the fact Mohsni’s on-field rashness could see him sidelined for the forthcoming matches away to Livingston and at home to Raith Rovers.
However, Mohsni is not the only one facing fall-out from Monday night. Boyd was charged after he was involved in an incident with Hibs’ Jordon Forster. The pair went head to head after a clash in the Hibs box, with the Rangers striker appearing to butt his opponent.
It is just the latest blow for McCoist and the beleaguered club, with the Sons of Struth fans group revealing that its 1,500 members have overwhelmingly voted in favour of boycotting games at Ibrox until Sandy Easdale vacates his position as chairman of the club’s football board.
The membership has also voted to boycott Sports Direct, the company owned by Mike Ashley, which is also a shareholder in Rangers International Football Club (RIFC) and was sold the naming rights to Ibrox Stadium for £1. The fans want to see that contract ripped up.
The unrest has left the club in a precarious financial position, with 15,000 fans refusing to renew their season tickets at the start of the season and the club directors claiming that they are now struggling to meet financial obligations and continue trading beyond the end of the year.
There was further confusion and concern yesterday when it was announced that a five per cent stake in RIFC had been sold.
Initially, it was unclear who had bought the £853,000 worth of shares – 20p per share – with investment group Hargreave Hale, who had been one of Rangers’ main shareholders, only confirming that it was behind the sale of 4,265,000 shares.
The identify of the buyer remains a mystery despite the club confirming the shares are now being held by a French bank. The Ibrox board announced in a statement to the London Stock
Exchange yesterday afternoon that a 5.23 per cent stake is now registered with the Paris-based BNP Paribas Arbitrage SNC.
Both Rangers and the bank refused to comment on the details of the transaction, but is understood the shares have been purchased on behalf of an unnamed third party and are now being held in a nominee account.
Hargreave Hale bought its shares during the public offering of shares in December 2012, when, thanks to a launch price of 70p, their stake was initially worth almost £3m.
The clubs still needs to raise more funds and are hoping they can do that with a new share issue which will be launched after the agm, which must be held before 31 December but there was more uncertainty when RIFC’s nominated advisors were suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange.
In a statement, Daniel Stewart Securities said the suspension was a temporary measure pending the publication of its annual accounts and insisted there will be no impact on RIFC.