Nikica Jelavic doubt has Ally McCoist in quandary over transfer window

NEW signing Mervan Celik may not want “Cellik” on his back but Rangers manager Ally McCoist is more concerned with keeping his own fans off his.

He knows that won’t be easy if the club cannot rebuff all advances for striker Nikica Jelavic, particularly if the current negotiating continues and draws out his departure long enough to make bringing in a replacement almost impossible. “That would be the nightmare scenario,” admitted McCoist, who added that the ideal would be the retention of the Croatian and the addition of another striker.

“But there is not a lot I can do about that and there are a lot of managers sitting in the same boat, worried for two reasons, because, one, [if the deal goes through late in the transfer window] it doesn’t give you a lot of time to react and that’s if you get any of the money that comes in to spend and, two, if that’s what happens the other manager I am trying to get the replacement player from, he will be reluctant because he will have nowhere to go so late on.”

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With Steven Naismith and Kyle Lafferty sidelined through injury and the recent switch in momentum as Celtic leapfrogged the champions at the top of the table, McCoist knows the current transfer window will be pivotal in how this season’s story ends.

Having enlisted the services of the Swedish midfielder, Celik, he remains hopeful that owner Craig Whyte will sanction at least one other buy, while dismissing all advances for Jelavic. But he has no guarantees. “I’m still hoping we get another striker in because we need it. The Fran Sandaza deal is dead in the water so we are looking elsewhere for another striker and there are still a few on our shopping list. Ideally it would be a permanent signing but, being honest, I will take what I can get.”

The wages freed up by the departure of David Weir and the loaning out of John Fleck would appear to help his case, but McCoist insists there is no explicit demand from Whyte that a player must go before another can be signed.

“He has been very, very fair. He has looked at my list and said ‘OK that’s a possibility and that’s a possibility but maybe one or two aren’t’. But he hasn’t said one in one out. I will keep trying and see how I get on. I would like to get as many as possible and I will keep going back and getting the potential custard pie in the face or slap in the back. Although I have had one or two knockbacks before, which probably won’t surprise you.”