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Nov 30, 2012

McCoist open-minded about stadium name

Rangers manager Ally McCoist says he is not against the club selling their stadium naming rights, but believes Ibrox should be incorporated into any new title.

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Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is reportedly in talks with Rangers chief executive Charles Green regarding a lucrative deal that could see Ibrox renamed the Sports Direct Arena to promote his retail firm. The Glasgow club are believed to also be considering other proposals.

McCoist can understand the need to follow in the footsteps of some English clubs from a business perspective, however, he would be reluctant to see the Ibrox name scrapped altogether.

"With Arsenal moving from Highbury and Manchester City moving from the old Maine Road, they were going to new premises and I can understand that," he said. "But, when you're keeping the same stadium, it's a slightly different scenario.

"If it does happen - and at this stage it's still a big if - I would definitely like to see Ibrox still in the name.

"I can appreciate it's a really delicate issue and I would imagine it would split fan opinion. My own opinion is that I'm neither for or against it - I'm reasonably open-minded.''

A similar move proved to be unpopular with Newcastle fans and as a result McCoist believes the Rangers support should have a say in any plans to rename Ibrox.

"I definitely think the fans would certainly have to have a voice and an opinion on the final decision," he said. "We saw the reaction of the Newcastle fans when it happened down there and I'd imagine a good percentage of our support would feel the same way.

"I do understand the business side of it but I do understand, more than anything, history and tradition. It really is a difficult situation in terms of finding the balance. I can see both arguments.

"The decision will be taken by Charles and the businessmen within the club and I can understand that but I think Charles would agree that the fans should have a voice and it should be heard.''

Elsewhere, Rangers are back in action this weekend as they take on Elgin in Sunday's Scottish Cup tie at Ibrox and McCoist insists there are no hard feelings between the clubs.

The Third Division fixture between the two sides earlier this month was called off after it emerged too many tickets had been sold for the match at Borough Briggs - resulting in Elgin being hit with a £25,000 fine by the Scottish Football League.

"These things happen. I would congratulate the SFL for dealing with it swiftly and fining Elgin," McCoist said. "We got no satisfaction out of what happened and we didn't feel we were demanding justice. We were just disappointed primarily for our own supporters, who travel long distances.

"It's over and done with now and we can all move on. We will welcome Elgin on Sunday with open arms again and look forward to a good cup tie.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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