I T is a simple question with an answer which manages to be both surprising and somehow all too familiar: which Scottish club has signed the most players this close season?

The answer is the same club that has suffered the greatest financial implosion of them all, but can still look as though money burns a hole in its pocket. Rangers.

Two questions regularly being asked around the game right now are "where are Rangers finding the money" and "are they heading for trouble". At the time of their £22m share flotation in December, it was well enough known that the club was losing £1m a month. That was a staggering revelation and a damning indictment of the business model implemented by Charles Green's consortium. Rangers shifted a phenomenal number of season tickets last year and the take-up for the share issue was impressive, too. But for the new regime to be haemorrhaging so much cash every month beggared belief.

Ever since, there have been plenty who feared – and just as many who hoped – the club was sleepwalking its way back into insolvency. To them, it still looks very much as though Rangers must be living beyond their means and repeating, albeit on a much smaller scale, the failures of judgment that got Sir David Murray into such catastrophic trouble in the first place and left him passing the buck to Craig Whyte.

In fact, there have been cost-cutting drives since the share issue. Carlos Bocanegra, Dorin Goian and Neil Alexander have just been moved out, taking around £45,000 off the weekly wage bill. Although Craig Mather is the interim chief executive picking up most of the money Green was on, Imran Ahmad will not be replaced as commercial director, which amounted to a considerable saving. Neil Murray, Tommy Wilson and Pip Yeates left as chief scout, reserve coach and physio respectively, with only the scouting role earmarked to be filled again (because a good scout will eventually pay for himself many times over). Some other staff around the club have also gone. Around £1m has come off the maintenance bill.

But it still costs around £1.5m per month to run Rangers and it works out that only around £1.1m is coming in. Season-ticket sales for the coming campaign stand at almost 28,000 after the deadline for renewals last Friday, with the figure expected to reach around 36,000-37,000 after they go on general sale. That amounts to about £10m to add to the £7m-£8m left in the bank from the share issue. But the fact remains: Rangers are running at a loss, and at a loss taken seriously enough within the club for jobs to be under review with the likelihood of a number of redundancies around Ibrox. They have to put a brake on spending. Mather has been asked by the board to cut costs and, inevitably, one of the routes he must go down is a cold, dispassionate look at which areas are carrying some expendable fat.

To those of us on the outside there seems to be only one answer to that: the playing department. Rangers have a squad of more than 30. This summer they've signed Scotland's No.3 goalkeeper from Kilmarnock (giving him a substantial wage rise), two of the best players from two top-six clubs (Motherwell's Nicky Law, Jon Daly from Dundee United), a Honduran internationalist (Arnold Peralta), and experienced former players Steven Smith and Richard Foster. None of those could remotely be described as extravagant deals and the wages are lower than the outrageous £6000-per-week plus bonuses given to Ian Black. But it still amounts to a considerable outlay for sledgehammers to crack a nut. Rangers are still only in the third tier, remember.

Although moving on Goian, Bocanegra and Alexander (Kane Hemmings has been the only other departure so far) means the players' wage bill will come down, it is still way above the target figure of around £4m. Ally McCoist has wanted a centre-half all summer but signing an eighth new player, which would increase the size of his squad by four bodies since the end of the season, would be impossible to justify if staff who have been a part of the furniture for years get a tap on the shoulder and their P45.

Throughout the vast majority of his career, McCoist knew only big squads at Rangers, lots of players, options for every position. It is those who are most ingrained in the club's customs who are bound to find it hardest to adjust to austerity, even after the destruction of last summer's exodus and the Scottish Football Association registration embargo. Frankly, he has already built a squad which should be comfortably good enough to win not only SPFL League One but the SPFL Championship, as well, without the need for further additions.

But if he does try to land a defender, it surely isn't going to happen until more players have been moved out. Rangers know they are still losing too much money, just as McCoist knows the manager doesn't operate within a bubble. When it comes to pressure to make savings, no-one's exempt.