Ally McCoist last night defended the decision to take his squad to the four-star Carnoustie Hotel for the pre-match preparations ahead of the game against Forfar, despite the Ibrox club embarking on a cost-cutting exercise.

Rangers visited the hotel yesterday for a meal and for the players to sleep before the 2-0 victory at Station Park and McCoist said it was justified since they were maintaining their professionalism.

The Ibrox manager insisted that the team will continue to prepare for away games as they always have done in the past, even if opponents are part-time, until he is told otherwise. Graham Wallace, the chief executive, raised the possibility last week of the players taking a 15% wage cut, which the squad rejected unless it is also to apply to executives. Wallace needs to reduce the outgoings at Ibrox, though, so every cost will come under scrutiny.

Loading article content

"I can understand people questioning it but it's my job as Rangers manager to give our players the best opportunity we can to perform," McCoist said of the pre-match preparations. "We are still Rangers Football Club and have always attempted to be as professional as we can. That will never change as long as I'm manager.

"To give the players the opportunity to play as well as they can you have to prepare as well as you can. We will continue to do that until I'm told otherwise. If we do get told we can't prepare in the manner we're accustomed to then we'll alter it.

"It would be disrespectful just to turn up, the Forfar players were away for a pre-match meal as well. If there are cuts in certain areas then we'll adjust to that but we'll continue to be as professional as we can if cuts are made."

Negotiations may yet take place between the players and Wallace, since the only alternative to a wage reduction is for the playing squad to be reduced. The first-team wage bill is only around 30% of turnover so costs will need to be cut elsewhere in the business.

McCoist will meet Wallace later this week, and there remains the likelihood that some players could leave during this transfer window, although no-one in the squad is actively seeking a move away and all the players are under contract.

Rangers toiled to overcome Forfar, but eventually secured the victory with goals from Bilel Mohsni and David Templeton.

Dick Campbell, the Forfar manager, accepted that his side had lost to Rangers' "quality", but he felt his players had competed well enough in the game. "It's a part-time club playing Rangers and they had to pull out all the stops to win," he said. "The two goals were magnificent, Barcelona couldn't have defended them. I've no complaints, but you would expect that when I've plumbers and policeman playing."