Tom English: Farewell to Ally's allies

FROM the moment Martin Bain put his name to the statement that questioned Craig Whyte's capacity to take Rangers forward, the chief executive at Ibrox was on borrowed time.

Bain was one of five men on the independent board. The fact that one has now been removed as a director and two others have been suspended shows the scale of Whyte's anger. The new owner of the club may come across as a jolly individual but clearly there is within him more than a touch of the hatchet man.

Among the Rangers rank and file there will be few tears shed for Bain, if - and when - he departs. Not everyone will be indifferent at the prospect of him leaving, though. You'd imagine the one person who will be most troubled is Ally McCoist. As a rookie manager in a highly-pressurised job he will be feeling slightly vulnerable now that his mentor, Walter Smith, has left the scene. Bain was another trusted friend and supporter. Now he's gone, too.

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McCoist will surely be wondering who is going to replace Bain should he exit Ibrox - and whether he will get on with that person or not. Will the new chief executive be a football man? Will he know the scene as well as Bain? Will he know how agents work? Will he have the contacts and the canniness and, above all, will he have the understanding of the unique pressure McCoist will be under?

It was inevitable Whyte would come looking for Bain, given the act of treachery on the day the club changed hands. But it is a risk. McCoist had some stability with Bain at his shoulder. Now he'll be wondering what happens next.