Just about the only thing Ally McCoist can say with certainty about August 4 is that when he wakes up that morning it'll be a Saturday. The manager of Rangers is in a world where so much else is unknown, unresolved, and just a little more worrying with every passing day.
McCoist is obliged to fill his head full of questions and concerns about Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVA), liquidation, preferred bidder status and pacts between administrators, a London ticket agency and businessmen from Scotland, Singapore and America. And all the time the sound of a ticking clock will be in the back of his mind. Right now McCoist is hopelessly unable to start what every manager wants to be doing at this point in the year: planning.
No manager can be certain of which players he'll still have – and which he might be able to sign – between the end of one season and the start of another, but McCoist has far more to contend with than that. August 4 is the day the new SPL season begins. Will Rangers even be in it? To take things to their theoretical extreme, on the opening day McCoist could be selecting a team to face anyone from Celtic in the SPL to Elgin City in division three.
He doesn't know who his bosses will be. He doesn't know who the chairman will be, nor any new chief executive, director of football or other boardoom members. He doesn't know who he will be answerable to and nor does he know who will be there to answer the flood of questions currently tumbling around in his head. An entire new infrastructure has to be appointed. The guys he turns to on a daily basis at present, Paul Clark and David Whitehouse from administrators Duff & Phelps, could be long gone by then.
The best scenario is that Duff & Phelps announce that they have a preferred bidder, perhaps today or tomorrow. A period of due diligence would follow before discussions could be held with the creditors with a view to drafting a CVA. There would then be a creditors' meeting at which the CVA could be voted on. If accepted, there would follow a 28-day "cooling off period" during which any of the creditors can change their mind and reject it. Only after all of that is successfully completed – by around the first or second week of June at the very earliest – could Rangers be officially out of administration and in the hands of another owner.
Another seven or eight weeks of uncertainty for McCoist, then, at the very least. The most pressing couple of issues for the manager are transfer money and players, and it doesn't look like he will have enough of either.
Rangers' season finishes in 24 days and after that the players scatter on their summer holidays. The club is running out of time to name a preferred bidder who must then present his plans to a squad which will demand to be convinced that Rangers are in good hands.
They have more power than ever. Between £8m-£10m was wiped off their collective transfer market value when they negotiated wage reductions in March. It was their way of saying to Duff & Phelps: "we'll take temporary pay cuts to spare redundancies, but we want something back for that and if we don't like the next owners we want it made easy to get out of here".
All of the big earners – Steven Davis, Allan McGregor, Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker, Kyle Lafferty – now have clauses in their contracts which means they can go for far lower transfer fees than would otherwise be the case. Lafferty, for example, can go for just £500,000. The clauses make it far more likely that bids will come in for all of them this summer. Although they will all revert to full wages on June 1 the clauses remain in place for the duration of their contracts.
What Bill Ng, Bill Miller or The Blue Knights must face is the prospect of a summer exodus of all the senior players. To avoid that, whoever becomes the preferred bidder will have to attempt to renegotiate the contract clauses with the players one-by-one. They may have to "buy out" the clauses by, perhaps, compensating each player for the sum he lost by accepting a temporary pay cut. If they can't afford to do that – or don't think the existing players are worth it – then McGregor, Davis, Naismith et al are far more likely to feel that they could further their careers and their bank balances elsewhere.
Even aside from contract clauses, the players will need to be convinced that Ng, Miller or The Blue Knights have the levels of funding to take Rangers forward. Why should they stay at a club which won't have European football for at least one season and is unlikely to have the resources to compete with Celtic, the new champions?
Two days ago, McCoist said: "I won't lie to you: I'm really concerned and really worried because we have a lot of planning to do." That was an understatement. McCoist isn't only worried about who's coming into Rangers, he's more stressed than most about who could be on the way out.