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McCoist is keeping his head in the game

ALLY McCOIST continues to put a brave face on a worsening situation.

Nicky Clark has improved his chances of featuring against his former side at Ibrox today. Picture: SNS
Nicky Clark has improved his chances of featuring against his former side at Ibrox today. Picture: SNS

The announcement yesterday that Rangers would seek £4m from a share issue was effectively a warning that, should there be an insufficient take-up, then all the club would be getting for Christmas would likely be another stint in administration. It is a bleak picture and no mistake. Already owing £1.5m to Sandy Easdale and George Letham - those loans are due to be repaid by Monday - this need for additional income to offset the downturn in season-ticket sales was further confirmation that Rangers are a club in deep financial distress.

The language used in yesterday's announcement to the stock exchange was brutally frank. Even if there is full subscription to the share offer, Rangers would still need additional external funding before the end of the financial year in April. If there is minimum take-up, they must source additional working capital before the end of December.

On top of that there was talk about the company, in the worst case scenario, not being able to pay its creditors, leaving it facing an "uncertain" future. Even buried deep in the driest and most verbose of official documents, the message blared out loud and clear.

McCoist is well aware of the severity of the situation. Financial uncertainty is something that has hung over him since the start of his managerial tenure in 2011, an ubiquitous distraction hovering in the background. Perhaps it was the freshness of the latest statement - released barely an hour before he was due to meet the media - a feeling of helplessness, or just a general state of disenchantment that prompted him to decide that he wouldn't talk about it.

The strain showed in his conference with the broadcast media, McCoist accusing them of showing a lack of respect for asking about a matter he had made clear he had no interest in discussing, and threatening to walk out.

There was little sign of that agitation when he subsequently arrived to speak with the daily newspaper reporters although, again, he would not speak at any length about the latest financial missive. Instead, McCoist wanted to speak solely about his team and their SPFL Championship match against Queen of the South this afternoon. There is perhaps solace to be sourced from the one thing that McCoist can, just about, still control. It would only be natural if his spirits sunk every time the directors made an announcement but, publicly at least, that has not been the case.

"I could [become miserable by the situation] if I allowed it to," he said. "But I'm looking forward to a good game against a really good team. That's how you keep yourself positive and focused because this will be a real game."

Ibrox on a matchday, though, does not provide a sanctuary in these times. Row upon row of empty seats will serve as a reminder of the thousands who are staying away in protest at the way the club is being run, while those in attendance will make their displeasure known through a number of vocal protests. On the back of three straight wins, the mood should be lighter among the Rangers support but the increasingly alarming problems behind the scenes mean there is little prospect of tranquillity.

"Our supporters have been fantastic in handling everything that has been thrown at them," added McCoist. "We've sold 23,000 season tickets and, [people] can say what they like, 23,000 season tickets is fantastic support for us. And I don't see their support in any way wavering from the team. As long as the team continue to give them everything that they can in terms of their effort and attempt to play in the right manner and win games, then the fans will stick by the team, I don't have any doubt about that."

McCoist's focus today, then, will be on trying to overhaul Queen of the South and move Rangers further up the table. He will have a dilemma to ponder over regarding his forward line, with Nicky Clark impressing in the absence of the injured - but now fit again - Kenny Miller.

"I said to Nicky on Tuesday, 'make it impossible for us to leave you out of the team' and he's certainly doing his best to do that," added McCoist. "I thought against Queen's Park he worked really hard in difficult circumstances and he linked up really well with Kris Boyd and looked lively.

"I think he is enjoying the challenge of having to prove himself to get into the team. He knows, as the rest of the boys do, with the competition for places that they determine their places in the team. Nicky is handling the competition."

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