ALLY McCoist admitted he felt let down by some of his so-called big-name players after Rangers' interest in the cup competitions was brought to a crushing end by Dundee United at Tannadice amid a supporter boycott.
The Ibrox side looked every bit an Irn-Bru Third Division team as they went down 3-0 in the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round, and their misery was completed by the late dismissals of Kal Naismith and Ian Black.
The inadequacies of the club's young defence have been a constant this season, but more worrying for the Rangers manager yesterday were the failures of experienced players such as Francisco Sandaza, David Templeton, Dean Shiels and Black to measure up to a side which currently sits seventh in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and had not won at home since August.
"It was certainly poor," said McCoist. "Probably our bigger 'SPL' players should have done better today. I don't think it would do me any good to be critical of individuals but it was a disappointing day for one or two of the boys with SPL experience who would have looked at that and thought they would have done better.
"When criticism is warranted they get it. They got it today, some of the players individually."
With the Ibrox side still leading the third division by a distance, McCoist said the league – even if it contains part-time teams – is the benchmark.
"I would be going crazy if we weren't in a comfortable position in the league, because that is really where we have to be judged," he said. "Cup runs are nice but they are, by far, not the biggest thing to this club in the next few years."
While new Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara paid tribute to the extra "quality" his side had shown, McCoist refused to blame the boycott of his club's supporters, and was mildly critical of Black, who mimicked throwing a corner flag at the home fans following his late dismissal. "Ian is that type of character, he does get caught up in things, and doesn't do the team or himself any great favours when he does," said McCoist.
l Match report, page 6
McCoist: 'big names' were not up for the cup