Ally McCoist, the Rangers manager, last night backed the claim that it may take five years for the Ibrox club to start challenging Celtic's dominance of the domestic game.

On Thursday, Graham Wallace, Rangers' new chief executive, told delegates from the club's three main fan groups - the Rangers Supporters Assembly, as well as the Rangers Supporters Trust and the Rangers Supporters Association - that he wants to draw up a five-year plan to reel in their Glasgow rivals and return to European competition.

McCoist said: "I would have thought that was about fair, yes. I would agree with Graham there. He has been completely honest with everybody and if he said a five-year plan has been put in operation then I think we should respect that.

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"I don't have us down as any guarantees to be back in the [SPFL] Premiership next year, assuming we win promotion this year. If we are lucky enough to go up, there are no guarantees - absolutely no guarantees - we will do the same next year."

With the January transfer window closing last night, one of Rangers' most sought after players, Lee Wallace, was still on the Ibrox books as the deadline passed.

Nottingham Forest had two bids, believed to be in the region of £1m, turned down earlier in the week and McCoist expressed his delight that one of his prize assets had not been sold off to ease the financial pressures.

"That was an important message to send out," he said. "The chief executive has said right from the word go that we won't be selling anyone on the cheap as a firesale and that has proved to be the case. So obviously if you are looking for positives, that would be one of them.

"From the supporters' points of view and the team's point of view, it's a big, big plus, let's be honest. Lee's pledged his future to the club and he's signed his contract and decided he wanted to hopefully travel through the divisions with the club. That says a lot about Lee as a person too."

McCoist added: "It has been said that there might be the possibility of bringing players in this summer, so we'll probably reassess that nearer the time. The whole picture is not completely bleak."