McCoist claims he knows nothing of plan to slash wage bill by offloading players

ALLY McCOIST last night insisted he is unaware of any plans by Rangers to reduce their wage bill by offloading four players before the transfer window closes on Wednesday night.

Following the Scottish champions’ failure to secure the financial boost of group stage participation in Europe this season, it was reported yesterday that they are seeking to move out David Weir, Maurice Edu, Kirk Broadfoot and James Beattie this week.

“It’s all news to me,” said McCoist. “There have certainly been no offers coming in for any of our players. In an ideal world, I’d like to keep my squad intact, but you can’t predict the future. There are 72 hours to go until the transfer window closes, and we’ll see what happens.”

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Veteran club captain Weir has not played since suffering a hamstring injury against Hearts on the opening day of the season last month, while striker Beattie has been a peripheral figure since his £1.25 million signing from Stoke City last season. Broadfoot and Edu both played in yesterday’s 2-0 win over Aberdeen at Ibrox which returned Rangers to the top of the SPL table.

Goals from Steven Davis and Steven Naismith earned the victory but, by McCoist’s own admission, it was a poor performance by the champions. The manager was unconcerned, however, as he expressed his relief at the outcome after Thursday night’s deflating Europa League elimination against Maribor.

“The result was 100 per cent more important than the performance today,” said McCoist. “The most important thing was to get the three points. We did and that’s really all we can say about it.

“We will play miles better this season than we did today, of that there is no doubt. We went ahead with a good goal but then huffed and puffed. In the second half, we didn’t play at all well.

“We wanted to capitalise on going in front but we were dwelling on the ball too much, rather than looking for a penetrating pass. We should have mixed it up more, looking for a longer ball to the frontmen occasionally. We were too tippy-tappy for long spells. But I’m really pleased with the result more than I am disappointed with the way we played.”

McCoist had special praise for Davis, captain of the side in Weir’s absence, who was instrumental in Rangers grinding their way to victory.

“The best way I can describe the way Steven played is that it was a real Rangers captain’s performance,” said McCoist. “There were a few players looking for help today, and Steven is one of the players the others look to. He didn’t let anyone down in that regard.”

Rangers suffered fresh injury problems yesterday, one of which will be of real concern to Scotland manager Craig Levein ahead of Saturday’s crucial Euro 2012 qualifier against Czech Republic at Hampden.

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Naismith suffered a hip injury in the first half and although he completed the 90 minutes, his involvement with Scotland this week may be in doubt.

“Steven showed great spirit by playing on today,” observed McCoist. “He put an ice pack on the knock at half-time and is doing so again now. I hope for his sake, and for Craig Levein’s sake, that he is okay, but we should know more tomorrow.”

Romanian defender Dorin Goian limped off at the end of the first half with a knee injury and he looks likely to be withdrawn from his country’s squad.

“We could do without any more injuries to defenders,” said McCoist. “Dorin feels a little better now than he did when he came off, but we won’t know the full extent of the damage until tomorrow.”

Aberdeen manager Craig Brown was encouraged by his team’s performance but remains concerned by their poor results at the start of the season.

“We played well enough to get one point today, maybe even all three,” said Brown. “We had a few chances and played particularly well in the last hour of the game after showing Rangers too much respect early on. But we can’t keep talking about hard luck stories. We have to get points on the board, and I’m confident we will after the international break when we have a run of games against comparable opposition. We are still not a good enough Aberdeen team; I’m far from content at the moment, but I’m convinced it will improve.”