RANGERS manager Ally McCoist has revealed that he will not have the final say on any decisions to release – or, where possible, to sell – his players when the transfer window reopens next month.
The cash-strapped Championship-challengers are currently living a hand-to-mouth existence courtesy of the loans supplied by influential shareholder Mike Ashley.
Since the Sports Direct magnate and Newcastle United owner increased his interest in the Glasgow club last month, ten employees have been made redundant and that process is understood to be ongoing.
Only last week McCoist spoke of the possibility of bringing the cream of Newcastle’s young talent to Ibrox on loan but now he appears to suspect that his squad – who currently trail league leaders Hearts by nine points and who travel to face Alloa Athletic in the semi-final of the Petrofac Training Cup tonight – will be weakened rather than strengthened.
Tunisia defender Bilel Mohsni claimed yesterday that potential moves to England and France have been blocked by McCoist, telling foreign media that the manager is not willing to allow anyone to leave.
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“That would be my wish, that I could keep as strong a squad as possible,” said McCoist. “That’s what I would like to happen but I am fully aware of circumstances.
“When we are losing staff and where we are at the moment, things may alter. I can appreciate that more than anybody. We will just have to wait and see.”
McCoist claimed that he has not been told that his budget will be slashed – “not at all, absolutely not” – but admitted that departures may be inevitable. “I would think financial decisions might not be mine,” he said. “I will possibly be included in the conversation and the decision. It goes without saying that very few managers make financial decisions at clubs.
“So it wouldn’t surprise me at all if any decision was made by someone else – but I would be consulted. I respect everything that’s going on at the football club right now.”
Asked whether he anticipated having such a discussion in the near future, he replied: “We will just wait and see. I’m not hanging around waiting for the conversation. If and when it happens I will be ready for it.
“It will absolutely affect my planning for next month, but there are more important things going on at the club concerning people’s jobs, people’s livelihoods. That, for me, takes precedence over anything else happening in the football department.”
Cost-cutting could, of course, lead to Rangers failing to win promotion to the Premiership and, ultimately, lead to the club missing out on much-needed revenue. McCoist, though, refuses to take sides in this financial debate.
“I can understand the arguments for and against,” he said. “And, no matter what our squad is like, we will be trying to get up. That won’t change.
“That’s 100 per cent the focus. I’d be happier trying to do that with as strong a squad as possible. But I can understand the delicacies within the club at the moment.
“I am in contact with [former Newcastle chief executive and new non-executive director] Derek Llambias and the chairman [David Somers]. If I have anything to ask, or they need to see me, we contact over phone, email or I see them in person.”
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