McCoist urges Wallace to step up efforts to bolster scouting network

Rangers Manager Ally McCoist is still unclear on the Nerlinger situation. Picture: TSPL
Rangers Manager Ally McCoist is still unclear on the Nerlinger situation. Picture: TSPL
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RANGERS manager Ally McCoist has stressed the need for Ibrox chief executive Graham Wallace to appoint a chief football operations officer a matter of urgency.

McCoist is concerned that Rangers will be caught short on their eventual return to the SPFL if they do not have top quality players already in place. But he insists he knows nothing about reports that Wallace has targeted German Christian Nerlinger, the former Rangers player, for the role he previously filled at Bayern Munich until 2012.

McCoist said: “Nothing has been said to me about Nerlinger or any director of football. But in terms of the infrastructure, we desperately need a chief scout with an eye to the future.

“I do not think it is rocket science what happens when you lose 20 players valued at 
£40 million and you replace them with free transfers.

“That is not a criticism of the boys we are bringing in. But it is a fact of life that we have to get quality in to get back to the level we want to be at and we are not going to do that in a year.

“We have to keep strengthening and the one thing you do have with a chief scout and a scouting department is the potential to do a Sporting Lisbon.

“You get a boy at 18 or 19 and develop him for 18 months before you play him. But that is in an ideal world and we are light years away from that.

“We need to get back to having a base where we have got people at games, people going to Europe to watch under-18 and under-21 tournaments.

“Ian Durrant, Kenny McDowall and I watch European football, absolutely everything. But we cannot go and watch players unless they are in Scotland because of the situation the club is in and that is the beauty of having a scouting department.

“We are just watching games off videos and getting players sent to us from agents, which is great and we follow it up, but it is not an ideal situation.”

McCoist says he already has candidates for the scouting role in mind, but he added: “While we have obviously got people we would like, there is a financial aspect. The club’s situation is well documented and it would have to come under that bracket as well.

“But we need somebody to scout talent, assessing players, if we want to get back to a top standard in Scotland and hopefully get back into European football.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish Professional Football League has agreed a television deal that will see at least 15 Rangers games and four Edinburgh derbies screened live next season. Almost 90 league games will be shown live across three broadcasters.

A five-year deal for Scottish football’s television rights was agreed in 2012 shortly after Rangers went into liquidation but the relegation of Hearts and Hibernian to join the Ibrox club in the Scottish Championship prompted more negotiations this summer.

Sky Sports and BT Sport will show 70 games between them, including the Rangers games and the four Hearts-Hibs contests. And BBC Alba will add to its existing coverage, which is mainly pre-recorded 90 minutes of Scottish Premiership games plus a few live games, by screening 16 live matches from the three lower divisions.

The coverage kicks off with Rangers’ opening Championship encounter against Hearts, which is on Sky Sports on Sunday, 10 August. Rangers’ second game, at Falkirk, will be shown by BT Sport on the following Friday night while Sky will screen the opening Edinburgh derby two days later.

All of Celtic’s four league games in August will be shown live, with three of them kicking off at 12.30pm.

Their opening match at St Johnstone remains scheduled for 13 August but their fans face early trips to Inverness and Dundee later in the month.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “We are delighted to have reached agreement with both Sky Sports and BT Sport to include live coverage of all four of this season’s Scottish Championship Edinburgh derbies.

“Combined with BBC Alba’s live coverage of a further 16 matches from across the Championship, League 1 and League 2, viewers will be able to follow the drama every step of the way.

“All this means more live television exposure for Scottish league football than ever before.”

Only the August screenings have been chosen and BBC Alba will announce its initial selections next week.

BBC Scotland also announced yesterday that it has secured live television and radio coverage of Celtic’s away match with Icelandic champions KR Reykjavik – the first competitive match under new manager Ronny Deila. The first leg of the second qualifying round of the Champions League kicks off at 8pm on Tuesday, 15 July. It will be live on both BBC1 Scotland and on BBC Radio Scotland and will also be streamed on the BBC Scotland sports site.