Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

I’d love to boss Rangers, says McCoist

Ally McCoist, Norman Whiteside and Frank McAvennie at the Europa Hotel yesterday to promote ESPN's coverage of the English and Scottish Premier Leagues

Ally McCoist would love to manage Rangers. The Ibrox folk hero revealed his biggest football ambition on a Belfast visit yesterday.

But the current Gers assistant manager also admitted he may never get to live the dream.

In fact, he could be out of a job in January.

Rangers' precarious financial position this week put the spotlight on boss Walter Smith and his No2, McCoist, with their contracts due for renewal in the New Year.

With the club on the market and a fire sale of players in the offing to service huge bank debts, McCoist candidly accepted there are no guarantees, regardless of past achievements or reputations — and few rate higher in Rangers folklore than he.

Asked if he'd relish stepping to the breach were 61-year-old Smith to ever 'put his feet up' soon, McCoist, 47, replied: “Managing Rangers would be wonderful. If it happens, fantastic.

“But what's happening at our club at the moment is more important than any individual.

“The future of the club needs to be sorted as soon as possible with the best interests of Rangers at heart and I speak as a fan as well as an employee.

“If that future involves Walter Smith, Ally McCoist and our first team coach Kenny McDowall, great.

“But I'll always be Rangers through and through, whatever happens.

“I've grown up with Rangers, supported them man and boy — if the new owners still want me, no-one will be happier.

“It's an uncertain time, not just for the management. We have six or seven players coming out of contract soon as well.

“Regardless of individuals, however, the continued survival and success of the club is paramount.

“If the club is stable, anything is possible after that.''

Smith raised eyebrows after Saturday's Premier League draw with Hibernian when he claimed Rangers' spending was being overseen by Lloyds Banking Group, with the club reportedly around £30million in debt.

But McCoist defended his boss, saying “Walter was being honest. People will have many opinions about Walter Smith but lack of honesty will never feature.

“Fans have been been crying out for information and honesty and he gave it to them.

''People in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and all over the world are going crazy with worry about the club. That shows how big Rangers is — it's more than football, it's life.

''Never mind myself and Walter, there are players at the club who are worried about their future. There are hundreds and thousands of fans to be concerned about too.''

McCoist went on the describe Rangers' plight as a “statement on the condition of Scottish football as a whole.”

He admitted an Old Firm switch to the FA Premiership would be an aspiration for him and the club, but accepted: “The proposed Atlantic League link-up looks more or a possibility than going straight into the Premiership.

“Let's face it, the clubs whose status we'd threaten are hardly going to pave the way for us coming in.

“It would be turkeys voting for Christmas.

“As things stand financially we can't now compete with even the bottom teams in the Premiership, or even those at the top of the Championship.

“They're not going to hand Rangers and Celtic a piece of the action. It’s a sad fact we have to face.

“I'm all for us wanting to better ourselves but our expectation has to be realistic.

“The SPL is not going to get any better, going into the Premiership looks unlikely so perhaps we should pursue the Atlantic League idea.”

Amid the dark clouds engulfing the Scottish club game, McCoist does glimpse a silver lining.

“We had three teenagers in our team that beat Dundee in Tuesday night's League Cup semi-final,” he enthused.

“If any good has come out of the current situation, it is that Scottish youth is now getting a chance. We've no option.

“The days of top quality imports to the SPL are gone. We can no longer afford the likes of Larsson, Di Canio, Gascoigne or Laudrup.

“The money isn't there but the product can still be attractive which is why ESPN have come in.

“They are supporting Scottish football when it most needs support and that's why I've come to Belfast to beat the drum for them.”

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