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McCoist: We can't cope with ban

Ally McCoist insists Rangers would be unable to cope with a year-long ban on signing players after claiming other managers are already ''sniffing'' about the administration-hit club's squad.

The Glasgow giants were hit with a £160,000 fine and 12-month embargo on registering players aged over 17 by the Scottish Football Association's judicial panel after being found guilty of five charges in relation to their finances and the appointment of Craig Whyte as chairman.

Players last month agreed wage cuts of up to 75% to avoid redundancies and will revert to their original contracts on June 1, with some securing clauses which would allow them to leave for a specific fee in the summer.

Administrators are appealing the SFA decision but McCoist fears the worst if the verdict stands.

McCoist told RangersTV: ''We can't cope with it. We have lost players already this season. Individual players have clauses in their contracts which indicate they may leave for more suitable terms for themselves.

''I would have to ask them the question: would they be happy with us not being able to bring in new players? They absolutely wouldn't.

''There are already managers sniffing about our players - I know of that. They are like vultures around our squad at the moment which angers and disappoints me.

''But that is the territory we are moving in at the moment. We are a seriously wounded animal. It's a double-edged sword. If we can't strengthen the squad then those within it currently may want to leave.''

McCoist accused the SFA of not doing enough to help Rangers during one of the most turbulent periods in their history and urged them to follow the lead of English football authorities and their treatment of troubled club Portsmouth.

He said: ''You don't know if the SFA will see sense. There was nobody prouder than me to represent my country. I was really fortunate to represent my country on a good number of occasions.

''But I just feel the governing body is just not doing nearly enough to help the club in the current situation. I am not looking for sympathy, I am looking for fairness.

''We are really, really struggling and we are not getting enough help. I look at Portsmouth and the English FA can't do enough for them to try to help them. Indeed, Portsmouth received money from the Football League at a suitable time to try and help - and that's the key. We are not getting enough help.''

Administrators warned the SFA sanctions could cause further delays in naming a preferred bidder, with American tycoon Bill Miller and Paul Murray's Blue Knights still in the running for a takeover.

McCoist added: ''These sanctions could not come at a worse time. We are trying to get a preferred bidder and indeed a buyer for our club. This new punishment would certainly have an effect on a potential buyer.

''Let me give you an indication. I got a phone call from Mr Miller from America about midnight last night and we were on the phone for well over an hour. He had just got the news and obviously couldn't understand it. When I say that, of course he understood it but he thought it was extremely harsh.

''We had a good chat about it and I have to say it must have a bearing on his views about the potential purchase of the club.

''It must do or he wouldn't be phoning me at midnight on a Monday night. I don't have any doubt Brian Kennedy and Paul Murray would have an opinion on it also.''


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