Rangers administration: Ally McCoist seeks counsel of Ibrox mentor Walter Smith
RANGERS manager Ally McCoist has revealed he will turn to his predecessor, Walter Smith, for help and advice as he prepares to face the consequences of the Ibrox club’s move into administration.
McCoist, who admits Rangers are now in a battle for second place in the SPL after their 1-0 loss at home to Kilmarnock on Saturday, could begin to discover this week the extent of off-the-field measures to be imposed on the financially stricken Scottish champions by administrators Duff and Phelps. While McCoist has been informed redundancies are not inevitable, they remain likely and could affect all areas of the club’s staff.
The vastly experienced Smith, who warned McCoist of the potential troubles facing him if he agreed to replace him as manager last summer following Craig Whyte’s takeover of the club, was on holiday in the United States last week when Rangers went into administration. He immediately contacted McCoist who will now seek the counsel of his mentor on a regular basis as he looks to lead Rangers out of the biggest crisis in their 140-year history.
“Of course Walter has been in touch,” said McCoist. “He is as disappointed with what has happened as the next Rangers man. He is as taken aback by what has happened as I am. He is out of the country at the moment but will be back this week. He phoned me when it first happened. Given where he was in the world, it wasn’t the best time to get me. It was a four-in-the-morning job and he woke me up, but given the way I’ve been feeling it could have been anytime.
“We have been speaking on a regular basis. I make absolutely no apology for the fact we will be having conversations. Not only was he part of my own career, he is also a great friend and knows this club better than anyone. It would be a nonsense and absolutely crazy for me not to talk to Walter Smith.
“I am braced for anything that comes our way this week. I will have meetings with the administrators, meetings with staff and training to do, which is effectively what I get paid for.
“That is my job and that is important to me, but I appreciated this week might be a little bit different. I’m up for it and ready to meet whoever, whenever, wherever. I have had great personal support from the people around me. I have a great family and very good friends. That is the support mechanism I have and it couldn’t be better.”
Although results on the pitch are now of secondary importance to the club’s successful emergence from administration, McCoist cannot ignore the concerns over his team’s poor performance levels.
With the defence of their SPL title effectively ended by the SPL’s 10-point deduction, Saturday’s home defeat by Kilmarnock has forced Rangers to start looking over their shoulders at third-placed Motherwell.
Stuart McCall’s team are now just six points behind Rangers and can close that gap further if they take anything from their game in hand against Hibs at Fir Park on Wednesday night.
If Rangers do not come out of administration by 31 March and meet Uefa club licensing financial requirements, they will be barred from playing in Europe next season. But failure to finish second in the SPL would see them miss out on Champions League football, and potentially critical income, in any case.
“I’m not sure it is a case of hanging on for second place,” said McCoist. “That is obviously the worst scenario we would want. But Motherwell had a great result at the weekend, beating Hearts 3-0 and we know we have a fight on our hands.
“I’m aware of the fact Motherwell will be looking at events very closely and I’m sure Stuart McCall’s camp will be saying, ‘Let’s go here, we have a chance of second place’. It’s our job to make sure they don’t get it.
“At the moment all we have to do is win our next game, which is at Inverness next Sunday. We know it is going to be tough, but we must attempt to win all our remaining 11 league games.
“The first half performance against Kilmarnock on Saturday wasn’t good enough and then Sasa Papac’s sending-off knocked the stuffing out of us. I know what people are saying – that results don’t really matter at the moment in the grand scheme of things, but I would have to say that they do matter. The most important thing is the welfare of the club and the workforce within the club. That will always be the case.
“But life will be a lot easier if we are winning games of football. The results and performances are still very important to the fans and everybody connected with the club.”
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