THINGS must be bad when it takes a tricky Monday night trip to Forfar to apparently keep you sane.

But that was what Ally McCoist, the Rangers manager, claimed yesterday, after a week in which Rangers were not so much thrown into turmoil but were instead thoroughly reminded that they never had really left it behind.Dwelling on what may or may not happen off the field, though, is a fruitless exercise, and McCoist can only put out the team he has until it is pulled out from under him. He did admit, though, that he was worried the financial strife and uncertainty over players' wages might affect what happens on the pitch.

"My biggest concern is that the off-field stuff will have an effect on their performances," McCoist acknowledged. "The players in the dressing room don't deserve to be going through this. The football side of things is what is keeping me sane, right now. The boys have been terrific with the way they have gone about their business.

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"It's to their eternal credit that they are getting criticised for only winning 1-0 and 2-0. That's how far they have come."

Forfar are the only side to have beaten McCoist's men this season, knocking them out of the Scottish League Cup, although Rangers have gained revenge twice since then, including in a 6-1 victory at Ibrox in December. McCoist, though, knows Forfar will be less easy to push over at home.

"Forfar are going well," he said. "I saw Dick [Campbell, Forfar manager] in the paper the other day and as usual, he is well up for the game. Forfar have without doubt given us really tough games, outwith the last time we played them at home. Going up there it will be a completely different game. I can sense the boys expecting a really tough game on Monday."

Campbell does not think the fresh wave of financial worries at Ibrox would have any effect on the players. "As soon as they cross that white line, they will only be interested in winning," he said. "Whether it is Rangers or Rangers minus 15%, the players will get on with things."