JUST when everyone else thought he was looking at a quiet transfer window due to the embargo on Rangers signing players, Ally McCoist has revealed that he will be pretty active in January.
With a reported 150 players from the Scottish Premier League out of contract, McCoist might not have to look far to get the sort of players that will be needed when, as was inevitable from the start of the season, Rangers make that step up to the Second Division – or whatever league they end up in due to the current machinations involving the SPL and Scottish Football League.
That there are 150 players going to be out of contract is “a sad sign of the times,” according to McCoist.
“There will be a lot of players looking for clubs,” he noted. “That said, the more I can look at the better because the way we’re looking at it at the moment, I think we’re allowed to register players on 1 September as long as they are out of contract – I’m hoping that’s the right situation, I’m led to believe it is, so that being the case, we have to do our jobs and that would be looking to strengthen again.”
McCoist and chief scout Neil Murray will be casting their net far and wide. “Everywhere, absolutely everywhere. We’ll look abroad, we’ll look at the SPL, and I’m not going to confine it just by saying only players from the SPL,” said McCoist. “We want to get the best players we can and continue building.”
Some names have already been considered and rejected. “We sat last week and put a line through 30 or 40, and we put a question mark or a tick and that’s how we do it,” added McCoist. “If we want to go and look at players, then we go. Neil is always very thorough and good.”
Chief executive Charles Green’s recent statements that millions will be available for that rebuilding process following the successful share issue does not change the immediate situation as McCoist can only talk to players who are out of contract with a view to them signing in September and he won’t be buying other clubs’ players until January 2014. There should be money to fund that spree, McCoist hopes.
“I haven’t actually discussed that with Charles,” he said. “We will discuss it, in terms of what wage bracket and budget I’m allowed because that’s obviously very important. But I’m obviously quite excited about getting to spend some money now as well.”
McCoist is only too aware that, from Tuesday, he could find his players becoming signing targets for other clubs. He said: “I don’t want to lose anybody, that goes without saying. I’m on record as saying that we have a small squad and we needed to strengthen it at the last window, so it would be complete hypocrisy of me to say it’s okay for one or two to go. I’m not daft, I know the game, but it’s really important we get to keep our younger players.”