Now that the smoke has cleared, and the prospect of a last minute “switcheroo” for Mr Green’s team into the SPL, or SPL2, has gone, we can start to think about football.
However, Mr McCoist is not happy regarding the number of players he has, and the fact that, until Sevco Scotland Ltd is successful in having SFA Membership transferred from Rangers Football Club PLC (in administration) he cannot register any new players.
This also ignores the outcome of the Appellate Tribunal under Lord Carloway, and the suggestions that Mr Green would be asked to accept as a sanction the registration ban declared ultra vires by Lord Glennie.
On a side note, should the SFA ask Sevco Scotland Ltd to accept such a condition and Sevco agrees, then that is fine. The problem would be if the SFA sought to impose it as a condition, and Sevco refused to accept it. Even though the SFA can set what conditions it likes on admitting a member, or transferring a membership, I think it would have trouble trying to impose a sanction already ruled, in the area of punishing bringing the game into disrepute, to be outwith its powers.
“We have a transfer embargo hanging over us but how can I operate with a transfer embargo when I only have six players? It’s impossible and it’s just madness.
“I have in the region of six first team players at pre-season training right now, two of whom were regulars last season in the SPL.
“We need to bring in the region of 10, 12 or even 14 players. I reckon since January we have lost close to 21 players.
“We have to start rebuilding and replacing.”
However, reluctant though I am to point out an error by Mr McCoist, I hope that he appreciates that what I have to tell him is good news.
“RANGERS’ pre-season is underway and 13 senior squad members have reported for the first day of training this morning.”
Lee McCulloch was amongst the first to arrive at the club’s training ground at Auchenhowie at 9am and he was quickly joined by Kyle Hutton, Ross Perry, Kal Naismith and reserve goalkeeper Scott Gallacher.
Scotland defender Lee Wallace joined the group as well and goalie Neil Alexander also showed up along with Kirk Broadfoot and fit-again striker Kane Hemmings.
Darren Cole is in the squad which is currently going through fitness tests after his loan spell at Partick Thistle last season. Out-of-contract players Salim Kerkar, Chris Hegarty and Andy Mitchell are there too along with a selection of youths as they look to win new deals with the Light Blues.”
Looking at the players listed by Rangers on its website as first team players, together with players listed as reserves who played for the first team last year, I count 16 players. Of these, 6 are full internationals; 6 are under-21 internationals; 1 has played at under-19 level internationally; and finally one is capped at under-17 level.
In addition the Rangers website lists 29 reserve and under-19 players, excluding those I have counted above, and those known to have left the club. I have not included the Academy players. In addition, I am sure that some of the reserves and under-19 players will have international experience at some level, but I have not searched through each one.
Those figures suggest a squad of 45 players, at most, to choose from. I have not checked through the SFL clubs, but I would be surprised if many have six full internationals on their books, or a squad of 45 to pick from.
Mr McCoist also wants to bring in new players – “in the region of 10, 12 or even 14 players”.
For now I won’t comment on the financial implications of that, but I have more good news for Mr McCoist.
Rule 115.2 of the SFL Rules states:-
“115.2 A club shall be permitted to register, at any one time, up to a maximum of 22 players, who have reached the age of 21 years on 1st January of the appropriate year. The maximum number of 22 players includes players registered by means of a temporary transfer. Additional players may be registered by a club, however such players must be under 21 years of age on 1st January of the appropriate year.”
So Rangers FC are restricted to a maximum of 22 players of 21 years or over. This should save Mr McCoist scouring the free agents and transfer lists for too many players of that age, as his existing 45 man squad as referred to above will come close to filling the number of slots he has.
Of course, it seemed rather odd that Mr McCoist agreed to allow Mr Ortiz to leave by mutual consent last week. If there is a registration embargo, why agree to a player leaving, at least till the position about new players is clear?
Maybe the difference between the figures is that Mr McCoist only counts full internationals as first team players? Maybe he should speak to whoever runs the official website, as their figures do not agree with his.
Has Mr McCoist lost a lot of first choice players? Of course he has.
Does he have a squad which, without addition, could have competed or at worst survived in the SPL? It would definitely have survived.
Is he in position where he and the myriad of ex-players who form the back room staff might have to pull on jerseys to make up numbers? No.
Is it realistic to expect a squad of players including 6 full internationals, at least 6 undr-21 caps, and a number of under-19 and under-17 internationals to compete in SFL3? Of course it is!
With the players Mr McCoist has at his disposal, if his team plays in the coming season, and fails to win SFL3 by at least 20 points, then he ought to have serious questions to answer. Indeed it is only the fact that, every so often we see a giant-killing in the Cup, or the big team held by the minnow to a first leg draw before succumbing by five goals in the replay, which prevents me suggesting they ought to go through next season with a 100% record in the league!
Even ignoring all of the financial, regulatory and disciplinary issues still extant, Rangers FC will face many unusual and for them unique challenges in the coming season. However player numbers ought not to be one.
Posted by Paul McConville