ALLY McCOIST, the Rangers manager, has revealed his fear that players could be sold without his consent following the news that the Ibrox squad had been asked - but refused - to accept a 15% wage reduction as part of a cost-cutting drive.
As Rangers approach the second anniversary of entering administration, McCoist also revealed he had been given a "categoric assurance that there will not be a chance" of the club suffering the same fate again.
The manager stood firmly behind his players' decision not to agree to chief executive Graham Wallace's request but acknowledged that there would likely still need to be cuts to the football department as part of a wider restructuring at the club.
McCoist, who has agreed to reduce his own salary by half, also revealed he had been assured that Wallace would look at "the whole business from top to bottom", a suggestion that directors may also be asked to consider a drop in income.
McCoist has accepted he will not be allowed to add to his squad this month and admitted there was a far greater likelihood of players moving out, whether he wanted them to or not. "Graham has informed me that, among other things we discussed, there will be potential player budget cuts," he said. "I won't be selling anybody but the club might sell somebody. Graham hasn't told me he wants the squad size trimmed but the obvious interpretation of cuts within the player budget would suggest that.
"Maybe reading in to what he's said about a smaller playing budget and cuts, you'd think that was what he was meaning."
The Rangers manager admitted the recent turmoil left him with "a feeling in the pit of your stomach" but revealed he had faith in Wallace to deal with it appropriately, something that was not always there with previous chief executives.
"I've been given an assurance that [administration] will not be the case - that there's no chance of that," he added. "So it's definitely different [from 2012] although it's still not nice. I think the club has got a chief executive that will tell everyone the truth. Make of that what you will but he'll be completely up front. Graham has told me he will tell me the truth and I absolutely believe him. That has to be a positive. But obviously the overriding feeling, like all Rangers supporters, would be of disappointment at this moment in time."
McCoist admitted to being in the dark as to the possible consequences should significant cuts not be made. "That's a question I am unable to answer thankfully. We can all interpret in our own ways what might happen. But I have been told that [a second] administration effectively will not happen. We are looking for pluses and that has got to be a plus. But in terms of what would happen if things don't happen I can't tell you because I am ignorant of that."
McCoist revealed he backed his players' decision not to agree to a wage cut. "My loyalty is to the players, the fans and the football club and I stand by what decision the players would make. Morale is still brilliant.
"That's the message that needs to get out more than anything. The club's being battered from pillar to post again, but it's our job to keep it high. The main thing I'm interested in is the morale because if the morale goes, the whole thing collapses."
On the prospect of directors' remuneration being similarly scrutinised, McCoist added: "I asked