Ally McCoist frustrated as closure of transfer window leaves squad ‘thin’

RANGERS manager Ally McCoist last night declared himself dissatisfied with the Ibrox club’s transfer window dealings and admitted to particular anxiety over the strength of his defence for the rest of the season.

The 12-month signing embargo imposed by the SFA on Rangers for bringing the game into disrepute under former chairman Craig Whyte’s ruinous tenure began at midnight on Friday, a day which ended in considerable frustration for McCoist.

Although pleased with the capture of David Templeton from Hearts, he saw several other targets elude Rangers. With Carlos Bocanegra leaving the club on a season-long loan to Racing Santander, McCoist had been keen to sign at least one central defender. Cameroon international Andre Bikey, without a club after being released by Burnley, is believed to be one of the defenders Rangers missed out on.

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“I’m not satisfied, to be honest,” said McCoist. “As I said over the past couple of weeks, I’d have been happier with four or five bodies coming in. As it is, we got one or two in with a couple going out. So the maths will tell you I’m not particularly happy.

“We are thin on the ground in defensive areas. We are going to have to carry a bit of luck with injuries and suspensions in that department. That is an area where I am pretty concerned.

“There were no shortage of players we tried to get. Neil Murray, our chief scout, has been great and Kenny McDowall, Ian Durrant and myself had drawn up our own list of players. But they just didn’t happen, through a combination of a lot of things, not just money. We know where we stand now and we just have to get on with it.”

Rangers have yet to keep a clean sheet in the Third Division, falling behind against Elgin City at Ibrox yesterday before surging to a 5-1 win which moved them up to third place in the table, two points behind leaders Peterhead.

“If we win 5-1 every time, then I will get over the frustration of not keeping a clean sheet,” added McCoist. “At the same time, we always look at the goals we lose and we could have done better defensively with the one we conceded today.

“There is a feeling in our camp that there is a bit of negativity out there about us and the fact that question about us not keeping a clean sheet is being asked suggests that may be the case. But of course we will look at every goal we concede and analyse it.

“We started alright today, without being particularly good. Then we lost the goal. The boys are saying it wasn’t a corner for Elgin, which led to the goal, but they would tell me that. The finish was top class, to be fair. The lad curled it right into the top corner. We reacted to it well and as the game went on, we got better. I’m not sure we deserved to go in 3-1 up at half-time, but I was delighted to do so. In the second half, our passing was a bit crisper and we scored two more good goals.”

Following Bocanegra’s departure, Lee McCulloch was named the new Rangers captain and he celebrated with two goals against Elgin, taking his tally for the season to eight. “The biggest compliment I can pay Lee is to say that it was a no-brainer of a decision to make him captain,” said McCoist. “His willingness to help others around the club has been plain to see. It was a natural decision. Lee is very proud and pleased. So he should be. This place has had some great captains down the years.”