GLASGOW, Scotland (AFP)
Rangers manager Ally McCoist said he was just happy to see his
side playing football again after their reincarnation in the
lower leagues of Scottish football began with an extra-time 2-1
over Brechin in the Challenge Cup.
It was the first competitive match for the fallen Glasgow giants,
who as recently as 2008 were playing in a UEFA Cup final,
following their demotion to the third division after the club was
reformed as a new company following liquidation.
The Ibrox club, whose new owners Sevco Scotland were only granted
a temporary licence by the Scottish Football Association to play
the match late on Friday night, got off to the perfect start when
Andrew Little gave them a fourth minute lead.
However, the expected goal-rush never materialised for Rangers
and Brechin's Andy Jackson poked home a 43rd-minute equaliser to
ruin the party atmosphere amongst the 3000 travelling support,
who had temporarily swelled the town's tiny 7000 population.
The Gers fans outnumbered the home fans by three to one at the
4123 sell-out match as they took their place on the uncovered
terracing in front of a hedge that surrounds Glebe Park's
After a goalless second half it was veteran Lee McCulloch, one of
only a few first team regulars from previous seasons to transfer
his contract to the new Rangers, who spared Rangers' blushes with
an extra-time winner against the Second Division outfit to book
their place in the next round.
Despite his side's laboured win McCoist declared himself happy
just to get a team on the park after the financial crisis that
hit the Ibrox club earlier this year.
"We are all pleased - the staff, all the players and indeed the
fans have all been fantastic," McCoist.
"All we ever wanted was an opportunity to play and we got that
today and we are thankful for that."
With only a month to recruit new players to the club before a
one-year transfer ban handed down by the SFA starts, McCoist
knows the next month will be vital as he plots to lead Rangers
back up through the leagues.
"We have lost 22 or 23 players since January. We have brought in
one or two younger ones and obviously Ian Black is the only one
we have signed so I think pure maths will tell you we definitely
need bodies in to help," McCoist said.
"That's what we will be doing hopefully in the next few weeks. We
need to build a squad for the next 18 months or two years and we
need to do that within the next four weeks.
"There has been a massive chunk taken off the wage bill so it
would certainly be nice to get some of that back.
"I will have to sit down in the next couple of weeks with chief
executive Charles Green and discuss some players but there well
may be some going out.
"But the next three or four weeks are going to be massively
important in terms of the next few years and indeed the longer
term future of the club.
Former Hearts strikers Kevin Kyle and Craig Beattie have been
training with the club while Greek international Pantelis Kafes
and Northern Ireland winger Dean Shiels have both been linked
with moves to Ibrox.
McCoist, whose side are scheduled to face East Fife a week on
Tuesday in the first round of the League Cup, says he is hopeful
of still being able to attract top players to the club despite
their fall from grace.
"I believe you have to get the best you can. I think the players
that we are attempting to target are players who our fans deserve
to see," the Rangers manager said.
"At the same time it is about getting the blend right as well.
The first thing we have to do is we have to win the league. But
it would be nice to do it in a bit of style giving our fans what
they want to see."