ALLY McCoist has stressed the need to have a scouting system in place at Rangers if the Ibrox club are to return to the forefront of Scottish football.
The SPFL League One champions are looking to appoint a director of football, with former player Christian Nerlinger in the frame for the role. Speaking from Brora, where Rangers are on a pre-season tour, McCoist admitted he was uncertain what responsibilities the man in the new position will have.
However, he reiterated his desire for Rangers to bring in a chief scout as they prepare for a final push back into the top flight in the new season. "I haven't heard anything regarding that [the appointment of a director of football]," said McCoist. "I don't know anything about it. My priority this season is the same as every season and that is to win the league. But in terms of the infrastructure, we desperately need a chief scout.
"If you lose 20 players valued at £40m and you replace them with free transfers it is not the same. It is not rocket science and it is not a criticism of the boys you are bringing in. It is a fact of life. We have to replace quality and get quality back in to get back to that level that we want to be at.
"You are not going to do that in a year. It is proven. But that is the thing. The one thing you do have with a chief scout and a scouting department is you have the potential to do a Sporting Lisbon (who signed Ryan Gauld from Dundee United).
"Go and get a boy at 18, 19 and say: 'Right, it looks like we are not going to play you for 18 months, but we are going to develop you'. We are light years away from that obviously. We need to get back to having a base where we have got people at games, people going to Europe to watch under-18 tournaments and under-21 tournaments. We don't have a scout."
McCoist has come in for scathing criticism from a section of the Rangers support during the summer months for the players he has brought in. He has signed experienced strikers and former fans' favourites Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller - who are now 30 and 34 respectively - during the close season.
Elsewhere, he has also brought in Darren McGregor, the former Cowdenbeath and St Mirren centre-half, to bolster his defence on a free transfer. But McCoist has stressed financial restrictions and not having a scouting system in operation at the Ibrox club have complicated recruiting.
He said: "My coaching staff and myself watch French football, Dutch football, absolutely everything. But we can't go and watch players unless they are in Scotland because of the situation the club is in obviously. That is the beauty of having a scouting department. If you have scouts they can go and watch games, they can recommend players and then you can go and look at them, get videos and watch them.
"At this moment in time you are actually just watching games off DVDs. You are getting players sent to you from agents, which is great and we follow it up, but it is not an ideal situation. If we want to get back to a top standard in Scotland and hopefully get back into European football we have to have people assessing players."