PLAYERS GIVE McCOIST STRENGTH
Rangers manager Ally McCoist admits the sacrifices of his players - especially the younger ones - have given him the strength to carry on through the club's most difficult period.
McCoist faces a crisis at the back as his side meet Dundee United in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League with six defenders missing.
But such selection issues have been the least of his problems since Rangers went into administration on February 14 and he is looking forward to the normality of a game after a two-week absence.
In the intervening period, McCoist helped to broker a wage-reduction deal that kept the vast majority of his squad and the wider workforce in jobs and has been involved in talks with prospective buyers.
The Rangers boss said: "Two of the most important things in these trying times are the welfare of the club going forward and, just as importantly, the welfare of the people within the club in terms of their livelihoods and their jobs.
"The last three or four days have certainly been a lot more positive.
"The players have obviously made sacrifices. It was a fantastic gesture to keep people in jobs.
"Some of my young players have been absolutely outstanding.
"I've had discussions and chats with my younger kids and they have really given me some strength to move forward, kids that really can't afford to give up much.
"Some of the things they have been willing to give up have been really heart-warming.
"There has been a big, big ask of a lot of people and I'm thrilled and delighted we have come through to this point."
Some of the players insisted on a clause in their altered contracts allowing them to leave if majority shareholder Craig Whyte regained control of the club.
When asked about these caveats, McCoist said: "I can understand individuals having certain concerns.
"That's for them and their agents to have discussions with the administrators.
"I certainly wasn't party to any of the agreements but I can understand the concerns."
However, McCoist refused to divulge his own feelings on Whyte, who bought a majority share for £1 but, according to administrators Duff and Phelps, has not put any money into the club.
"I'm going to reserve judgement on it," McCoist said.
"I don't think me talking about that is going to help anybody.
"I'm just really looking forward to the day where this sad chapter in the club's history gets closed and we look to the next chapter.
"Maybe that will be the time to talk about the previous chapter, but at this moment it wouldn't help me airing any views on individuals or anything that has happened.
"It's up to me to look forward and take everyone on board and hopefully get us through this."
McCoist did ask for leniency for the club though when they face six Scottish football Association charges next week. Whyte faces two.
"You would just hope that the SFA distinguish between club's actions and the actions of individuals," he said.
Former owner Sir David Murray this week expressed sympathy for McCoist as he leads a "rudderless ship" but the former Rangers striker is too busy focusing on the ongoing problems to consider his overall role.
"It's been hard work but it's just something you have got to deal with," the 49-year-old said.
"It certainly wasn't in the coaching manual when we sat our Pro-licence but it's come up and you have to deal with it.
"Hopefully in three or four weeks' time, or however long it takes, we'll look back and say 'we got through it'.
"At this moment I don't really think of it other than the job that has to be done."
Rangers face United without the suspended Carlos Bocanegra and Dorin Goian and injured Steven Whittaker, Kyle Bartley, Kirk Broadfoot and Sasa Papac.
The only other two recognised first-team defenders are Ross Perry and Lee Wallace with the likes of Lee McCulloch and youngster Chris Hegarty set to step in.
McCoist said: "Any normality at all would be a bonus because we haven't had it for what seems a long, long time.
"We're looking forward to getting back to the football. We're a football club - that's what we do.
"I'm really looking forward to it, having said that we've not got our problems to seek on that part as well.
"We're up against a team that are really, really in form."
McCoist also admits his team face a "massive battle" to maintain second place ahead of Motherwell, who are three points behind.
"We're up against it," he said. "We have a tough run-in, as have Motherwell.
"I would never underestimate the task ahead or indeed how important it is.
"It's really important that we finish second and it will be tough - you only have to look at the squad and we're threadbare.
"We're up against it but it's time to show what we can do, and that's what we will do."
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