IT'S only when you try to follow the never-ending maze of events at Rangers that I'm eternally grateful that at Ross County myself and Jim McIntyre just have one up-front businessman of Roy MacGregor's standards to deal with.

How many different top men, chairmen, CEOs, directors, whatever, has Ally McCoist had to go cap in hand to over the last two- and-half years at Ibrox?

Most people would love to be the Rangers manager, but I don't think anybody has had to deal with so many chief executives and investors in such a short period of time.

Now it is Mike Ashley who is calling the shots, with the club requiring an additional £8 million just to see out the season. Everybody hopes the Newcastle owner is the man to finally stabilise the club, but the situation is complicated, as the SFA's rules on dual ownership mean he cannot expand his shareholding beyond its current 9% and may have to fund the club with loans instead.

There are also issues if both Newcastle and Rangers qualify for Uefa competitions, while he could use the threat of administration to drive a hard bargain. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if Ashley effectively owns some of the club's assets already.

Obviously the more successful Rangers become the more it helps Ashley with the merchandising side of things. But hundreds of thousands of people buy their kids Rangers strips regardless of how well the team are doing.

McCoist's focus, though, remains firmly on the football. Every week has been huge for Rangers since he took over as manager. But they don't get much bigger than this week. If ever a manager needs his players it is now.

They face Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup today and that is folllowed on Wednesday with the Petrofac Training Cup semi-final clash against Alloa. And he needs his players to stand up and handle these occasions.

He needed them last week at Tynecastle as well, though, and let's be honest, their discipline let them down.

They were right in that game and playing quite well but the sending off turned the game. Only the players can explain it, because they are all experienced.

Of course Rangers are capable of overcoming the nine-point gap on Hearts. The flipside, though, is I am not so sure that Rangers are capable of winning each week, or that Hearts are suddenly going to start losing.

McCoist doesn't need me to tell him he is under pressure. We are all under pressure. For me Rangers need natural width in the team. McCoist knows that too, but the players who offer him that, guys like David Templeton and Fraser Aird, haven't been consistent so he can't trust them.

He must also know that he has a team full of players who have been great servants but who are coming to the end of their careers, and it looks like they are struggling to find the energy week in, week out.

That is why McCoist was down south last week looking at potential loan signings. January is looming and of course you don't want to sell a guy like Lewis Macleod, but if it comes to it and it keeps the club afloat then of course you are going to have to.

Everything would be forgotten about, though, if Rangers get up through the play-offs. With the likelihood of meeting a resurgent Hibs team, then a list of Premiership sides which could include ourselves at Ross County, there are no guarantees about that.

But with where they are just now, I think 99% of Rangers fans would take that. Right now most are fearing they might have to spend another year in the Championship.

Just to top it all, I read last week that Mark Wotte could be coming in as a director of football. While the structure of the club is something they will need to look at in time, I think most Rangers fans would agree that appointing someone like Wotte is near the bottom of a very long list of priorities.

FINALLY, I would just like to add my tribute to much-loved commentator Arthur Montford, who passed away last week. I used to love listening to him when I was growing up and I regard him, Archie MacPherson, David Francey and David Begg as the top four commentators of all time.