McCoist is in the midst of, if not quite a crisis, then certainly turbulent times. The explosive start many had anticipated Rangers making in their first season in the third division has not materialised, while defeat in the Ramsdens Cup at home to Queen of the South in midweek was another wounding blow. McCoist is bound by the dichotomy of overseeing a long-term problem that demands a short-term solution. The Rangers name – and McCoist was as vocal as any over the summer in insisting that the club that emerged post-liquidation was the same as the one that preceded it – demands instant success and victory at every turn, even if the resources at the manager's disposal are slimmer than those available to his predecessors.
There was hope among a smarting Rangers support that their team could win one of the two major cup competitions this season, taking a few Premier League scalps along the way. Results, and the sluggishness of some performances, have meant those ambitions have shrunk. Motherwell are at Ibrox on Wednesday for a Scottish Communities League Cup tie and McCoist was already batting away Stuart McCall's assertion that the home side would still be favourites to progress. "He's forgetting I used to play cards with him on Scotland trips," said McCoist with a smile, acknowledging McCall's bluff.
For McCoist, the only target this season is to ensure Rangers make it out the third division at the first attempt. Three successive away draws have suggested the challenge may be more taxing than the leisurely stroll many had foreseen and McCoist has already had to endure some criticism from supporters unconvinced he is the right man to take the club forward.
"I keep having to remind everyone that our immediate target is promotion from division three and any cup run is a bonus," he said. "We have to accept where we are as a team. I keep telling everyone we're the same club, of course we are – but it's not the same team. We aren't the same team we were even five months ago. It's completely different. We're a new team with some youth and some very good SPL players.
"That's where we are and we just hope that we get the chance to rebuild and stabilise – the club needs that after the last year or so. I can understand the frustration from certain quarters and I can accept that. I can assure the support that I'll continue as I always have done to do my best for Rangers and for them. I don't want that to sound like I'm not shouldering responsibility. I'm just trying to get a realistic statement over of where we are."
McCoist not universally popular among the Rangers support? He's been in this movie before. It is often forgotten that as a player he struggled for a spell after moving from Sunderland but not by the man himself.
"There are a lot of people who probably don't remember that it wasn't always a bed of roses for me as a player. In 1983, I was younger and less experienced and [the criticism] came as a real shock to the system. But I try to take positives out of these situations and that has stood me in good stead for anything football could throw at me. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger? Absolutely. So it's fine. I deserve to take the criticism when results aren't going well. It goes with the territory, it's natural. It won't make me crawl under the bed and go away, that's for sure. We will march on. We lost a game on penalties on Tuesday night and it's a big disappointment but we have an opportunity to go down the right road and get ourselves three points on Sunday."
McCoist no longer frets about being popular, even though his stock among most Rangers fans could not be higher. "I don't take the criticism personally. It used to worry me because you want to be liked, you want to be popular and for people to write nice things about you but I'm over it, I really am. The fact is that I have a job to do. I've never said that it would happen overnight or that it would be easy but I've got very good people around me and I have the utmost faith in this squad to get us out of this division. That is of paramount importance," added McCoist.