Rangers new-boy Sebastien Faure eyes top flight football in two years

THE possibility of playing top-flight football within two years was offered to Rangers’ new French recruit Sebastien Faure by manager Ally McCoist.

THE possibility of playing top-flight football within two years was offered to Rangers’ new French recruit Sebastien Faure by manager Ally McCoist.

During signing talks, McCoist mentioned to the 21-year-old central defender that Rangers’ exile from the Premier League might not be as long as thought.

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“The coach has said to me that there is maybe a possibility we could get back to the top flight within two years,” said Faure, through an interpreter. “Obviously, I’m here for three years so I hope we will be able to do that.”

In holding out such a carrot, McCoist was repeating what club chief executive Charles Green has publicly hoped and what Rangers fans will be desperate to see – that the proposed reconstruction of the Scottish leagues would see an expanded Premier Division and a Championship Division from next season.

If Rangers were to win the latter, and they would be red-hot favourites to do so, they would indeed be back in the top flight by season 2014-15. For his part, Faure made it clear that he would have come to Rangers no matter what league they were playing in.

He said: “Even if the manager hadn’t said that, I would still have signed. That’s because of the facilities we have here. Rangers aren’t really a club that should be in the Third Division and I hope we get back to the top flight as soon as possible.

“I’ve known about Rangers as a legendary club from my time in France. When I was at Lyon, Rangers played against us and I’ve been to the stadium twice for games and been really impressed with it.”

Lyon’s then coach Paul le Guen, the former Rangers manager, did not advise Faure on a move to Rangers – but then nobody did, the player making it clear it was entirely his decision. His wife Gaelle is joining him from tomorrow and in the meantime he has found a French speaker to chat to at Ibrox – fellow defender, Carlos Bocanegra.

“Carlos has helped me settle because he speaks a bit of French,” said Faure, who plans to take English lessons.

His manager would like to add signings before the transfer window closes on Friday, and he has the money to buy outside the bargain basement.

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“We’re not restricted to free transfers, not at all,” said McCoist. “I’d like to think we’ve got some money to spend on transfer fees, Charles Green hasn’t said otherwise.

“I’m no financial wizard but I now know the money going out in terms of salaries and I know what season-ticket money has come in. So I can tell the supporters, we’re definitely in a far better place financially than this club has been in a long time.”

Today’s match against Berwick Rangers resonates with history, as it always does when these two clubs meet, given Berwick’s 1-0 defeat of the other Rangers in the Scottish Cup in 1967. “We’ll be looking to avoid anything like that in this game,” noted McCoist.

The manager has enjoyed the aggressive and competitive nature of lower-league games: “I’m not worried about the tackling in the SFL. I would never want to curb the natural enthusiasm of players from the lower leagues anyway, far from it.

Referees blowing up for every tackle is to the detriment of the game even though they’re doing what they’re told.

“You can’t tackle anymore, you can’t give anyone a slap anymore – even an honest slap!

“That’s quite sad. The likes of John Greig, Billy McNeill and Davie Hay couldn’t have played these days.

“I’ve been pleased so far with the referees because, up until now in the SFL, not every first-time tackle has been a yellow card.”

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McCoist and Green have SFA hearings to attend this week over recent controversial remarks. McCoist had just one plea, quipping: “If the SFA could do me one favour, I’d like to be on the agenda before Charles! Please let me in to the court room before him!”