WHILE it was not the single most important cause of his resignation, there is no doubt that the redundancies of backroom staff at Rangers, including his loyal secretary, Laura Tarbet, contributed to manager Ally McCoist’s controversial decision.
“It’s sad, it’s extremely sad,” said McCoist. “Very good people, great people.
“Take Laura, for example – 42 years Laura has been here with the Rangers. She was on the flight to Barcelona [for the European Cup Winners’ Cup Final, 1972].”
The former secretary joined the club in 1971. McCoist said: “The first manager she worked for was Willie Waddell, so that woman, in my opinion, deserves to have her name on the board going up the stairs at Ibrox. She should be in the hall of fame. That’s what I think.
“It’s natural when you lose people like that, it affects you and saddens you. It clearly happens in other walks of life, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an effect on you. You would be more concerned if it didn’t have an effect on you, losing people like that.”
Asked if the departure of such people meant Rangers being diminished, McCoist replied: “Well, there’s no use shirking the issue. We don’t have John Greig any more, we don’t have Sandy Jardine, we don’t have Laura Tarbet.
“It’s sad we’re losing people that are synonymous with and have an identity with the club.”
So is Rangers FC losing its soul?
“Well, it’d be wrong of me to say that, but we definitely are now missing people that have meant so much to Rangers over the years.”
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He may be working his notice, but McCoist is focused on the target of a return to the Premiership: “I fully expect that by next December, if I’m sitting here, that we’ll be in the top flight.
“It’s going to be extremely difficult but we have not given up in any shape or form, we believe we can go up automatically, but there is the play-off route as well. We firmly believe we can get promoted.”
Last week’s decision by the SPFL to seek payment of a £250,000 fine imposed on Rangers for using EBT tax-avoidance schemes, won’t help McCoist, even though he is confident of being active in the transfer market in January.
“My reading of the situation is that I thought the fine was for the oldco,” said the manager. “There might be a legal argument in there that it should not apply to the new business.
“But I’m not sure if the board will pay it or appeal it – I don’t know enough about it. It’s a problem for them to deal with. And, of course, I can also see the argument that it’s a football-based fine and the football club should pay it.”
McCoist, who will have to deal with a dozen players coming out of contract during his notice period, added: “That’s something that absolutely has to be addressed. I have made my intentions clear and it’s 100 per cent correct that the players are informed and do have knowledge of what’s happening at the end of their contract. That’s very important.”
One player contracted to at least the end of the season, with a 12-month option after that, is veteran striker Kenny Miller. Asked for his reaction to the week’s events, to his credit he did not bother with the usual public-relations spin from players that the off-field stuff never bothers them. McCoist is, after all, a man he considers a friend. “Sometimes it does get to you,” said Miller. “Driving into the game last week and you’re getting text messages through about your manager potentially leaving, then it’s upsetting and disappointing for the players, considering we know him very well.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t the case as first portrayed. We hope we can get back to some kind of normality and focus on the games with him.
“If it hadn’t been for him, then guys like myself wouldn’t have had the opportunity to come back here, so he’s a huge factor.
“For me it goes without saying that whatever manager I’m playing under or club I’m playing at, I go out there to play for them. That’s the way I go about my business.
“But when you’ve got a guy like Ally in charge, the years I was away I stayed in contact, I consider him my friend.
“And Kenny [McDowall], [Ian] Durranty and big Jim [Stewart] I think I’ve known even longer. The staff are great guys and I want to go out and put on results and performances to get the club back in this title race and pushing to get promoted.”
Miller was emphatic that he wants to be at Rangers until the end of the season at least. The question is, will McCoist last that long?
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