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Challenge Cup cheer for Ally McCoist

  • 30 Jul 2012
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GLASGOW, Scotland (AFP)
Ally McCoist says he is hopeful of still being able to attract top players to Rangers despite their fall from grace

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 perimeter.

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."

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