Ally McCoist could be forgiven for remaining a sceptic of Charles Green. It is, after all, barely 18 months since Craig Whyte arrived at Ibrox promising the world yet only delivered a hell from which Rangers, and McCoist, are still recovering.
After just a few weeks of the Green era, the Rangers manager announced his public backing to the Yorkshireman, effectively giving supporters the go-ahead to purchase season tickets and hand over their money to an individual few knew much about. It was a bold statement and a call that could not afford to be wrong.
Green has certainly won over a discerning fanbase but McCoist remains the most important man he has to convince. He stated that even Princess Diana or Mother Teresa would be treated with a wariness upon their arrival at the club following the most tumultuous period in their 140-year-history, with Green going on the charm offensive in recent weeks to win over the remaining doubters. Admiration for the new regime has steadily grown from out with the club but while supporters can decide on Green on a whim, McCoist's opinions must have a deeper foundation.
"We have to trust each other," McCoist said. "By that, I don't mean 'no, I don't trust him'. The last experience of the last year has not been good. I went on record as saying that it didn't matter who came into our club, in terms of who bought it over and became chief executive, they would have to earn the trust of everybody. Not just me, the supporters, the staff, everybody. Charles, in my opinion, is well on his way to doing that. I don't think for a minute he will trust me 100% at this moment in time. Trust has to be earned, it is the same as respect. You don't give someone trust, you don't give someone respect. You earn it. That is where we all are at the moment. I would have to say, I am very, very much encouraged by where we are at the moment. We have miles to go. We are in a far better place."
As more details of the Whyte reign emerge, everyone connected with Rangers retains a right to be wary where Green is concerned. The opening months of his stewardship have been positive, with fans taking his bullish, no nonsense approach to heart as he has defended the club with vigour and spoken passionately about the future. Green has not been shy in making his feelings known since his arrival in Scottish football and while McCoist has met the full force of his Yorkshire grit face on, he is confident the pair's relationship can flourish.
"In my opinion, the most important relationship at any football club is manager and chief executive, it has to be," he said. "It is safe to say that him and I won't agree on everything, there is no doubt we won't agree on everything. He is probably as forthright and demanding and in your face as anybody. But, I have to tell you, I don't mind that. I spent the majority of my time here fighting with team-mates, but we all wanted to get to the same end. I am not saying that we fight all the time, far from it. It is still the early stages of the club's transformation. I think we have a very healthy working relationship. He phones me up, we have a cup of tea and we talk. He is really forthright. He knows what he wants for the club. If that means me getting one or two players less in the transfer window than I wanted then that's the case."
It is not just in the boardrooms where disagreements have taken place at Ibrox this season, with tempers flaring on the pitch and behind closed doors between several members of McCoist's squad. The results of the latest confrontation, during last weekend's victory over Queen's Park, have yet to be seen, with a trip to Broadwood tomorrow the next chance for Rangers to prove that the wrongs have been righted and the ills of a frustrating season thus far cured.
"Just because people fall out and have a barney doesn't necessarily mean they care," McCoist said. "There's been a few things said and that's fine. But anyone can talk and argue. We'll find out on Sunday."
While McCoist has spent the last few days preparing his players for the Irn-Bru Third Division fixture with Clyde, his Glasgow neighbours have been to the Camp Nou and back as Celtic have starred in European action. With Neil Lennon's side top of the Scottish Premier League and impressing on the continent, the gulf in on-field fortunes between the Old Firm clubs has grown significantly. The lure of Champions League football remains strong, however, with McCoist eager to once again dine at Europe's top table.
"It's got to be something to aim for," he said. "It isn't a million miles away but it is a good bit in the distance. We have a wee while to reach it. I watched the Champions League on Tuesday and Wednesday and the Europa League on Thursday and that's where we want to get to again. But we have to earn the right to get back there and it isn't going to be overnight. But it's a target for us and we can see it."
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