No problem with Gordon Smith's new position, says Ally McCoist

IF ALLY McCoist has even the slightest reservations over the appointment of Gordon Smith as Director of Football at Rangers, then he certainly did not betray them on their first working day together at Murray Park.

The Rangers manager was all smiles as he posed for photographs yesterday with Smith whose recent recruitment by club owner Craig Whyte was a surprising and unexpected development.

Many observers were left to speculate whether it may also be an unwelcome one from McCoist's viewpoint, the director of football role having often led to tension and turmoil when employed in Britain. But McCoist expressed unequivocal approval of Smith's arrival at Rangers, welcoming the assistance he believes the former SFA chief executive can provide in bringing further success to the club.

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While stressing his confidence that there will be no conflict between Smith and himself, however, McCoist also observed that the most significant individuals in the new regime at Rangers must be the chairman and manager. "I believe the relationship between Craig Whyte and myself is the most important one at the football club," said McCoist. "It has to be a good relationship and it will be a good relationship. It's equally important to Craig as it is to me. I'm fine with Gordon's appointment, I don't have a problem with it. I've known Gordon for a long time and I'm delighted he's come along. We need all the help we can get. I've had a good chat with him and Craig and all the boys.

"The key football issues are mine, it's as simple as that. If it's a question of picking the team or if there is a football decision to make, I'll make it. That's all you can ask for as a manager. It will work perfectly because we've both got the same targets, to make the club as successful as it possibly can be. Gordon will be heavily involved in transfers. He'll have one or two plans he'll want to discuss and that's fine.

"He's here to help everyone at Murray Park. From where I'm sitting, that's great because it's going to be a long hard season and we need all hands on deck.

"I've never had to stress to Craig that I would stand and fall by my own decisions because that was always going to be the case. Craig had always said that to me, so I never saw it as an issue. He told me I would be the manager and pick the team, so that was it for me. I never thought Gordon was a threat because I had a great chat with the owner about it."

McCoist will be happy to relinquish some of the duties which will be Smith's responsibility as Rangers look to both maintain and reinforce their first team squad for the season ahead.

"I'm not really sure I would want to be involved in contract discussions anyway," he added. "There will be times I'll have to get involved in it but in modern day football a lot of managers don't do it. Craig will ask how far do I want to go, in terms of signing a player. You have to have a value of a player and a shut-off point, so I will have a say from that perspective. Craig and I speak all the time. If he's not up here, then we speak several times a day on the telephone. We have a good relationship which is the way I like it and hopefully the way he likes it too."

In tandem with Rangers' failure to make any new signings so far this summer, the ongoing uncertainty over several players who are entering the final season of their current contracts is a source of concern for the club's support. Turkish club Bursaspor continue to hover in hope of signing Steven Whittaker who is yet to agree a new deal at Ibrox, while Allan McGregor and Steven Davis are in a similar situation ahead of the new campaign. McCoist says he has faith in Whyte's approach to dealing with the agents of the players concerned. "Craig is an intelligent man and a very good businessman," said McCoist. "He won't be held to ransom financially, which I would be in total agreement with. Negotiations are ongoing with the agents of Steven Whittaker and Allan McGregor, while talks with Steven Davis' agent are about to start. There is no way we want to lose any of those players."