ALLY McCoist revealed last night that he would be open to the idea of Newcastle United youngsters arriving on loan as part of Rangers' tie-in with Mike Ashley.

The Ibrox manager watched 17-year-old Adam Armstrong and 18-year-old Roland Aarons starring for the Magpies in the 2-0 League Cup win over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in midweek, and while he has yet to be formally involved in any discussions with Ashley or newly-appointed consultant Derek Llambias on the subject, he can see the potential opportunities for his first-team squad going forward.

Despite the qualms of the SFA, Sports Direct tycoon Ashley currently owns 8.92% of Rangers' shares, in addition to his ownership of Newcastle, and his influence appears set to grow when he guarantees a further share issue at Ibrox. The SPFL have detailed loan regulations to protect the integrity of their competitions - Scottish clubs can loan a total of five players in any season, only two of whom can be over 21, and only two of which can come at any one time from the same club.

Fifa, however, insist that cross-border loans are regarded in the same way as permanent transfers and hence there are no restrictions, so long as any business is conducted during the transfer windows.

Under Vladimir Romanov, Hearts used this loophole to recruit a raft of Lithuanian players on loan from FBK Kaunas and MTZ-Ripo Minsk, while the rules on incoming loans were tightened on English Championship clubs last summer as a result of Watford taking swathes of players on loan from Udinese and Granada, two clubs controlled by the same family. No fewer than 11 players swapped Udinese for Vicarage Road last season, while Scotland international Ikechi Anya used this mechanism when he originally arrived from Granada.

"Listen, we're in no position not to look at every avenue," said McCoist. "I did see all the game. Newcastle have won their last three and particularly the result against Man City was very impressive. If we were allowed to go and buy players, again that would be ideal. But if we were not, the next best thing would be looking at players you could potentially take on loan that would better your team and squad."

One player whose future is likely to be a source of intrigue come January is in-form midfielder Lewis Macleod. The 20-year-old has scored seven times this season, including single goal winners against Inverness Caledonian Thistle and St Johnstone in the cups. While it is possible that Rangers might be regarded as vulnerable to a bid, McCoist hopes the financial muscle of Ashley, thought to be worth around £1.5 billion, may indeed help him stay at the club.

"They might look at it the other way and look at the man that's come in and think that we might not be financially vulnerable at all," McCoist said. "That would be great because we don't want to lose our good players. Lewis is playing every week, enjoying his football and he is clearly developing and we want that to continue. I will be dictated to by the board and people who make decisions, but from a footballing point he is doing smashing. He is a key member of our squad."

At the other end of the age scale is Lee McCulloch. The 36-year-old falls out of contract this summer and, as much as McCoist admires the part McCulloch has played in the club's progress through the divisions, as yet there is no guarantee of an extension.

"I haven't had the opportunity [to talk to him about it]," McCoist said. "Obviously I will be dictated to by the finances. You look to keep the players up to speed on what your plans are, but I can't do anything like that at the moment. Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later."