ALLY McCoist insisted yesterday that he is as determined as ever to carry on as Rangers manager, and that he has no reason to doubt that he has the backing of the club’s board of directors.
There has been growing disenchantment among Rangers supporters over McCoist’s position following the 3-2 Petrofac Cup semi-final defeat by Alloa on Wednesday night and reports yesterday claimed that he had lost the confidence of the Easdale brothers – Sandy, who sits on the football club board, and James, a director of the plc.
But McCoist, while admitting he had not spoken to the Easdales since the defeat, said he remained committed to the job – and to his belief that Rangers are on track for a third successive automatic promotion.
The only thing that would change that commitment, he said, was if the increasingly fraught situation began to affect his family.
Asked if he still enjoyed the support of the directors, McCoist said: “Well, I’ve got absolutely no reason to doubt that I have their support. And, until I hear otherwise, then I couldn’t comment on it. I’ve got absolutely no doubt at this moment in time that I have their support, because I haven’t heard otherwise.”
When asked if he had spoken to the Easdales since Wednesday night, McCoist replied: “I have not, no.” He also answered in the negative when asked if he had spoken to anyone else on the board, but added that, since Wednesday, he had not even contemplated quitting, and was committed to completing the task of getting the club into the Premiership as soon as possible.
“One hundred per cent determined,” he said before taking training at Murray Park. “That hasn’t altered. My focus and the staff’s focus and indeed the team’s focus hasn’t altered, and that is to get us back to the top flight as quickly as possible. That hasn’t changed.
“I’ve got to remain focused and totally determined. That’s a must. If you lose that, then you have no chance. Even if you lose five per cent focus or determination… you can’t waiver.
“We still believe we can go up this year as champions. We still believe that. We firmly believe that. The task is difficult, we’re not denying that, but we certainly have the belief within the squad and the staff that we can go up this year.
“I’m as focused as I’ve ever been, and I console myself with the fact – console is maybe not the right word – that there’s always going to be bumps, massive bumps along the way.
“I remember getting beat by Stirling Albion three games into it. I can remember last season getting beat by Raith Rovers in the Petrofac Cup.
“What happened on Wednesday was a disastrous 20 minutes and we were knocked out by a team in the same division as us. People can go on about budgets and all that stuff, which is fine. Budgets are not my gig, so that level of criticism I probably don’t accept, because it’s not my budget, so to speak. But I do accept people thinking that we should be beating Alloa. But, unfortunately, we we were knocked out by a team in the same division as us. So that’s the reality of it. And the reality of it is the reaction to it, which I can understand and I have to accept.”
Although saying that his own self-belief had remained unaffected by the recent severe criticism of him, McCoist said he would have to reconsider his commitment to his job if the abuse directed at him began to affect his family.
“That’s completely different – there’s nothing more important than my family,” he added when asked if he would have a decision on his future to make if the abuse did start getting to them, but also added that there was no sign of that at present.
Rangers striker Kenny Miller, also speaking at Murray Park yesterday, said the manager still had the backing of the players.
“The manager will never lose that dressing room no matter what happens,” he said. “Listen, whether we win leagues, cups or trophies he will never lose that dressing room.”