Rangers manager Ally McCoist says he is glad to have tonight’s clash at Forfar to focus on in the wake of yet another off-field Ibrox drama.
The League 1 leaders were rocked again on Thursday when it emerged the first-team players had been asked to consider – but rejected – a 15 per cent pay cut. That offer comes as chief executive Graham Wallace seeks ways to cut costs at the club following the £14.4 million loss recorded in the 13 months up to June.
But McCoist admits he is worried that the fresh financial crisis enveloping the club may undermine their attempts to return to Scottish football’s top flight. He said: “The football side of things is what is keeping me sane right now. The boys have been terrific with the way they have gone about their business.
“It’s to their eternal credit that they are getting criticised for only winning 1-0 and 2-0. That’s how far they have come.
“But my biggest concern is that the off-field stuff will have an effect on their performances. The players in the dressing room don’t deserve to be going through this.”
Forfar are the only side to have beaten McCoist’s side this season after taking the Glasgow giants’ scalp in the League Cup back in August with a 2-1 extra-time win at Station Park.
Rangers have beaten Dick Campbell’s side twice since then – including a 6-1 thumping in Glasgow at the beginning of December – but McCoist knows the Loons are no pushovers at home.
He said: “Forfar are going well. I saw Dick in the paper the other day and as usual, he is well up for the game.
“They beat Stenhousemuir 3-0 quite comfortably at home last time out and had a great result away to Brechin before that. Forfar have without doubt, outwith the last time we played them at home, given us really tough games.
“We felt we played well against them last time at Ibrox and certainly it was the best we felt we had played against them.
“But going up there is a completely different environment, a completely different game. I can sense the boys in our group expecting a really tough game on Monday.”
Campbell does believe that Rangers’ financial problems will not make his side’s task tonight any easier.
Campbell said: “I do not think it will have any impact on their players at all. As soon as they cross that white line they will only be interested in winning.
“They had a turbulent couple of years. However, the players have gone out and won the Third Division. They have won 20 games out of 21 in the league this season and are in the Ramsdens Cup Final as well.”
He added: “Sometimes when you are facing a big side you go through a whole lot of things in your mind about who you should play.
“I have not had to do that as I do not see the need to change anything. The players have been superb recently and I will go with the same again.”
Martyn Fotheringham has been passed fit and will start, with Mark Baxter and Ross Campbell set for places on the bench after they also recovered from injury.