Rangers have officially announced that Assistant Manager Ally McCoist will become Rangers’ next manager, taking the Ibrox hot seat when Walter Smith steps down at the end of the season.
It was announced before Christmas that McCoist was set to replace Walter Smith as manager, and the former Gers striker has been mentored by the former Scotland manager since their time with the Scotland National side and subsequently on their return to Rangers in January 2007.
McCoist has agreed to a one-year rolling contract becoming Rangers’ 13th manager, with Kenny McDowall becoming assistant manager.
The announcement was made just three days after the club’s 3-0 defeat to rivals Celtic, leaving them eight points behind the current league leaders, despite two games in hand.
The announcement, according to Rangers, was made in an effort to end any speculation of the club’s future plans.
McCoist paid tribute to Walter Smith, “Working under Walter has been an incredible experience and it is a bit like taking the mike from Frank Sinatra – a difficult act to follow. I’m thrilled to bits, it’s as exciting a time as I can think of. I was lucky enough to play for the club for 15 years, but this is an absolute dream and a privilege. Martin and I had a few discussions – and Walter was heavily involved – and, once I was offered the job, my automatic reaction was to say yes.
“Rangers have always been my team. I know the club inside out, I know the people, the fans, the players and I know how important this football club is to everyone and hopefully I can bring them success.”
McCoist will remain as assistant under Walter Smith until the end of the season, when the keys to the manager’s office will be handed over, and the new man stated that it was a relief to finally know what the future holds for him.
“It’s a little bit of a relief in respect that we can now hopefully put it to bed,” he said. “This is a wonderful moment, but I’m sure everyone is aware of the importance of matches between now and the end of the season. We’re still heavily involved in four trophies.”
According to Rangers Chief Executive Martin Bain, the job was offered to McCoist in December, and he officially accepted it when the club was in Bursaspor.
“We were in Bursaspor in December when Alistair shook my hand and officially accepted the job,” Bain said. “I felt it important to keep it to ourselves and give Alistair that security. In recent weeks, as we start to plan for the new campaign, we realised Alistair was key to what we were planning next season. Takeovers have been discussed for some time. I can’t run this football club as chief executive waiting for something to happen.”
Bain added, “When Ally joined Walter as his assistant in January 2007, he was always being groomed as the next manager. He has contributed greatly to our success over the past four years and that is why we feel he is the right man to replace Walter. Walter Smith is rightly regarded as one of the most successful managers in our proud history and what he has achieved during the nine-in-a-row years and more recently in his second spell as manager is nothing short of remarkable.”
However Rangers fans are questioning why the announcement was made just days after losing to rivals Celtic. On Rangers messageboard Follow Follow, McCoist_355 said, “Everyone, understandably, is on a downer and negativitiy – justified or not – is at its height. So why announce Coisty’s appointment now? A real shame for him to be honest. I can hardly bare to watch the “unveiling” because I’m still licking my wounds from Sunday. Am sure I’m not the only one. So why announce it now?”
BigPalD slammed the club’s latest PR stunt, “We knew this was happening, its nothing new…sad sad attempt at a “cheer the punters up” story.. Well it was either this or a stadium redevelopment with hotel/casino I suppose.”
zxxxxxxxc backed the announcement, “Great timing in my opinion. Will give everyone a lift when we need it most. Will hopefully inject some much need energy amoungst the players.”
GodSavetheQueen tried to read between the lines, “I can’t see a new owner on the horizon, McCoist being on a 1 year rolling contract tells its own story.”
While nomad questioned the board’s opinion of McCoist, “He’s on a rolling cause they don’t have full confidence in him.”
But supergers07 demanded that Smith step down now and McCoist take his place now, “let him take over now and give time to bed in for next season.”
and David1982 didn’t have total confidence in Rangers under McCoist, “I’m going to be honest here, the prospect of super ally taking over doesn’t fill me with confidence, who should get the gig?, i havent a clue.”
The fan base is split over his appointment, but now that he has officially been named, I don’t doubt the fans will get right behind him though. If he is as successful a manager as he was a player, then rivals Celtic will have a job on their hand. But restructuring at Ibrox is needed, and that takes money, therefore Ally will be keeping an eye on Craig Whyte’s potential purchase of the club. Without Whyte’s money, McCoist’s first job as Rangers manager could be to wave goodbye to the likes of Allan McGregor and Madjid Bougherra, plus one or two other players.