RANGERS boss Ally McCoist is worried that next season’s Scottish Championship will be filled with some of the country’s biggest clubs.
McCoist hopes to complete the fallen Glasgow giants’ journey back to the top flight next term after his side romped to the League One title.
They will be joined in the second flight by already-relegated Hearts from the Premiership, but it is the prospect of a number of other major clubs also lining up against his team which has got McCoist concerned.
Any one of Hibs, St Mirren, Kilmarnock, Partick or Ross County could end up in the end-of-season relegation play-offs, while Dundee and Falkirk seem likely to miss out on automatic promotion to the Premiership after Hamilton took over as the new Championship leaders.
And coming up from the third tier alongside Rangers could be Dunfermline as they aim for promotion via the League One play-offs.
McCoist said: “Absolutely, the prospect of a big club like Hibs coming down worries me.
“No-one has a God-given right to win games. I’ve already said it will be a hell of a competitive and interesting league.
“We don’t know who will be coming down and there is a few twists and turns to come out of the next two or three weeks, which I’m looking forward to watching.
“Hibs have been mentioned but there are three or four of them down there fighting to avoid that play-off place, so it will make it really interesting for our league next year whoever plays in that play-off and ends up coming down.”
Rangers have recovered from losing both the Ramsdens Cup final to Raith and their William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final with Dundee United by recording back-to-back wins over Forfar and Stenhousemuir.
But, with the off-field saga at Ibrox refusing to die down amid rumours of impending cuts to McCoist’s budget and supporters ticket boycotts, the boss is keen to put a “testing” campaign behind him.
“I’m looking forward to my holiday, if that’s what you are asking me?” the club’s all-time record scorer said.
“But we’ve got three big games left and, even before that, a lot of planning to do for next season. We have to look at pre-season, squads, players - a lot of work is still to be done.
“I wouldn’t say it has been a wearing season - it’s been testing, but that is what you expect being manager of Rangers.
“It’s been a tougher job that I imagined it would be on the day I took it, with everything that has happened.
“We didn’t have any idea it would lead to administration and liquidation, so from that angle it has thrown up a lot more challenges than I thought it would initially.
“But you just have to meet those challenges head on as best as you can and we have done that. I hope it’s made me stronger for it.”
Rangers face Ayr United at Ibrox on Tuesday before chief executive Graham Wallace announces the findings of his 120-day review into the club’s books.
McCoist does not expect to get an advanced reading of the report, nor is he ready to divulge what he expects it to contain.
“I will have a cup of tea with Graham before the game and then definitely have a chat on Wednesday or Thursday,” he said.
“But I’m not expecting a heads-up or sneak preview of the report. That’s Graham’s department and, when he’s ready to tell us, we will all know.
“I have learned over the last two years to keep my expectations to myself and I will continue to do that.
“It’s safe to say the club is still going through a turbulent time, so my expectancy level isn’t as great as I’d have hoped.
“But it’s more of a realistic view. I might be surprised - hopefully for the better - but I might not. We will just have to wait and see.”