Rangers manager Ally McCoist kicks off his club’s season in earnest against Albion Rovers in the Ramsdens Cup at Livingston’s Energy Assets Arena today.
This will be his third season in charge at Ibrox and he has yet to reach the semi-finals of any of the five competitions Rangers have entered under his stewardship. That, he insists, is about to change.
Jon Daly, Cammy Bell, Nicky Law and Nicky Clark were not signed solely to secure promotion from what is now called League One. Rather, their presence is designed to provide Rangers with the opportunity to claim some silverware along the way.
“The ones we have signed on free transfers have definitely put us in a stronger position but we have miles to go,” said McCoist.
“I’d hope we are now in the position of the rest of the clubs in the top flight – apart from Celtic.
“A cup run would be nice. That’s the best way of putting it.
“St Mirren won a cup last year, which was fantastic. Celtic will start as favourites for every competition and I don’t have a problem with that but I’d like to think we would be in the mix with the other clubs in the top league.
“We have the same hopes in those cups as all the top-flight clubs, outwith Celtic.”
McCoist claims it was unrealistic to have expected last season’s squad, weakened by the refusal of so many international players to move over to the newco Rangers, to make an impression in knock-out tournaments against teams from higher divisions – but his expectations have changed.
“The cup defeats were a disappointment last year but I got over them quite quickly,” he said.
“We’d hope for better this year and we’ll look for improvement.
“This year will be different. The disappointment would be far greater because we have a better squad now.
“The boys we have signed have that winning mentality – Cammy won the League Cup with Kilmarnock and Jon won the Scottish Cup with Dundee United.
“I’d like to think they believe we have the kind of squad capable of going on a run.”
McCoist revealed that club captain Lee McCulloch, who scored 23 goals in 2012/13, will almost certainly start at centre-half against Rovers.
“There’s every chance – it’s a position that we’re not strong in,” he said.