Ally McCoist’s Managerial Foibles, the “Hinge Factor” and Rangers’ Downfall

In which I look at how little in the management philosophy of Ally McCoist seems to have changed over the last twelve months, even after all the upheaval there has been.

We travel by way of Napoleon’s soldiers failing to spike Wellington’s guns, Whittaker’s ball throwing and Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s prescience, from defeat in Malmo in August 2011 to a draw in Berwick in August 2012.

We also consider Mr McCoist’s attempts to build the biggest first team squad in Scottish football, and whether he is still trying to be an SPL manager in the rather different terrain of the SFL3.


When historians look back at the demise of the Rangers Football Club PLC over recent years, one wonders how much of an eye will be cast upon Ally McCoist’s role?

Now, unlike the owners, he did not engage in financial recklessness, or establish legally debatable tax reduction schemes (we do not know if he benefited from one), or even decide not to pay any tax at all. However, he has had a part to play, where different decisions, even minor ones, might have made a huge difference.

A book I would highly recommend is “The Hinge Factor or How Chance and Stupidity Have Changed History” by Erik Durschmied. It is the Durschmied thesis that, rather than fateful events in history being caused by sweeping strategic plans and decisions, instead the “blame” lies at the door of what might seem trivial occurrences. These trivialities though changed history.

A very interesting book – well worth the read!

As the review of the book said:-

“What if it hadn’t rained at Agincourt in 1415 and the French had, as expected, won the day? What if one of Napoleon’s most trusted commanders had spiked Wellington’s guns with a handful of nails at Waterloo in 1815, providing his emperor with victory? What if Hitler hadn’t paused for three vital days during his invasion of France in May 1940, allowing the British Expeditionary Force precious time to evacuate from Dunkirk?”

In the same way, what if Ally McCoist’s tactics had avoided defeat to Malmo in the Champions League qualifier last August? What if he had been able to instil enough discipline into his team to avoid Whittaker being red carded for throwing the ball at an opponent?

If Rangers had made the Champions League group stages, then there would have been a pot of European gold, and this could well have meant that administration would not have happened, or not when it did. It might even have generated enough money to fulfil whatever Mr Whyte’s mysterious plans actually were.

As Mr McCoist put it to the BBC when asked about the defeat:-

Rangers manager Ally McCoist says a lack of discipline cost his side a place in the Champions League following a 2-1 aggregate loss to Malmo. Steven Whittaker and Madjid Bougherra were both dismissed during a 1-1 second-leg away draw.

“The two sendings-off cost us dearly,” said McCoist. “I haven’t had a chance to look at the incidents but I think the fact that the lads gave the referee the opportunity to send them off was disappointing.”

“I really am disappointed,” added McCoist. “The majority of our boys were fantastic, I really could not have asked for any more than they gave me.

“I think indiscipline cost us the tie.”

Then comes the comment which I think resonates down over the last twelve months, and should cause concern for the fans of the Rangers FC.

Mr McCoist was quoted saying:-

“I don’t think we played particularly well in the first game. There may be legitimate reasons,” added McCoist.  “Obviously the game coming early for us and Malmo being well into their season is a factor.”

Here we have a manager, at the fledgling stage, it is true, of his career as the boss, saying that there MAY be reasons for his team not playing well.

Bearing in mind that, as it now transpires, the defeat to Malmo can be seen as a “hinge” for the fate of Rangers, how important do the manager’s failures now appear?

Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s history of the debacle (although published so quickly it is actually “Modern Studies”) will be in all good bookshops from Friday 31st August. There is a link to more details about it here.

Phil is a firm believer in the “Hinge Factor”. Many months ago, long before Duff & Phelps took their place in Scottish football lore, he told me that the Malmo defeat, and Whittaker’s indiscipline, would have enormous consequences. He was, as he has been with many of his articles, spot on.

Looking wider though, the factor which can be identified clearly as an issue was picked up on by Mr McCoist, namely that the Malmo match came right at the start of the season. This has been a problem for Scottish clubs going back over a number of seasons.

One wonders therefore if, as the football calendar is known some time in advance, managers might come up with strategies to deal with the fact that the most lucrative match for the team might be played whilst the players are still unpacking from their holidays?

Mr McCoist, like many managers, failed to deal with a problem which he clearly saw in advance.

Mr McCoist concluded his analysis of the Malmo defeat, as described by the BBC, saying:-

McCoist says he will continue to be active in the transfer market as he looks to bolster his team before the 31 August deadline.

“We need to help the boys who are in the team. They’ve given myself and the management team everything.

“What we need to give them is help, and by that I mean bodies.”

Now we will fast forward over a turbulent year. Rangers did have a huge lead in the SPL, although this was not clawed back by Celtic only due to the upheaval at Ibrox. The tide had turned long before the 10-point penalty imposed for entering administration. I know Rangers supporters who blame Mr McCoist’s team selection and tactical naivety for the decline, although many still refuse to be critical of him.

Ally McCoist knows exactly what way his team is going.

As we know, the Rangers FC have started the SFL3 season not with a bang, but a whimper. One win and two draws would not have been predicted by many, if anyone. A triumphal procession through the SFL was anticipated for the Rangers FC, with talk from the camp of winning an unprecedented quadruple of League, Scottish Cup, Challenge Cup and League Cup, with some optimists wagering on them for the Boat Race and the Grand National too.

Such lofty goals might yet still be achieved. However, no matter how good Mr McCoist might be as a manager in the SPL, which remains under question, he seems not to have adjusted to the culture shock of life in the lower leagues.

I offer two examples.

The official Rangers website had this to say after the draw with Berwick on Sunday.

ALLY MCCOIST says his side’s display in the 1-1 draw with Berwick was as poor as he can remember from a Rangers side.

The furious Light Blues boss admits the performances was unacceptable and couldn’t give pass marks to anybody in his side.

Speaking to RangersTV after the game he said: “I’m angry, I’m disappointed and I’m frustrated because that’s miles, miles short of what’s acceptable. I won’t accept it because that’s as poor a performance as I’ve ever seen.

“I can’t say where it comes from, I wish I could because I’d make sure it didn’t happen again.”

A year into the job, and the manager is still saying publicly that he does not know why there was such a poor performance. If not for the huge goodwill generated by his stance of “not walking away” then one suspects Mr McCoist might be carpeted by his directors, asking the simple question, “If you don’t know what is going wrong, why don’t we get someone in who does?”

If the Peterhead or Berwick matches had been Cup games, and it was SPL Rangers playing, rather than SFL3 matches, and the Rangers FC had come away with a draw in the manner of each game, then the manager’s position would of course be under threat.

John Barnes did not last long at Celtic after the “Super Caley” disaster, for example. At the time Inverness CT played in SFL1.

John Barnes and the infamous headline

If things go well for a team, then usually the manager gets the credit. If they go wrong, the manager gets the blame – whether that is fair or not.

To say that he does not know why the performance was so poor, might suggest he will  have difficulty in fixing it. After all, to answer a question, you need to know what the question is!

He does however have a solution, and this too might seem familiar from last year. Just to remind the reader (and I accept the circumstances were very different) after the Malmo defeat, Mr McCoist said, “What we need to give them is help, and by that I mean bodies.”

The solution last season lay in the transfer market, and as a run in the Europa League was anticipated, along with international calls, and the SPL, Scottish Cup and League Cup, there was a need, if possible, for a large squad of skilled players, to compete both domestically and in Europe.

What does Mr McCoist propose as the answer this season?

Again, from the Rangers website:-

ALLY McCOIST is eager to add to his squad and that feeling has been added to following his side’s performance at Berwick.

The Rangers boss revealed he may still be without Lee Wallace, Dean Shiels and Kirk Broadfoot in forthcoming games and is keen to add bodies to his group.

He said: “I’ve never said I was happy with my squad, far from it. We need numbers in and that’s not just down to the poor performance today.

We need players and I’ve said all along and we need to get them this week.

It might seem impertinent to ask, but does Mr McCoist not realise that his team’s circumstances are very different now? He does not need a squad for Europe. He has fewer League games to play, unless the Rangers FC ends up in the SFL3 playoffs of course.

Whilst he hopes to be competing against SPL clubs in the Scottish Cup and League Cup, with all due respect to the SFL3 teams, the standard of play is a great deal worse than in the SPL. That is why the teams are in the SFL3!

As the BBC reported on 24th August:-

“There are no signings really imminent at the moment, but the wheels are in motion on three or four targets,” McCoist told the Rangers website.

Meanwhile, McCoist has played down speculation linking Birmingham’s Morgaro Gomis and Malmo’s Daniel Larsson with moves to Rangers.

He said: “We haven’t had any dealings with Gomis’ club. He’s a player that we like but it would be unfair of me to speak about individuals at the moment. Daniel is a good player and someone who played well against us last year in Europe. He’s somebody else’s player at the moment and although he’s a good player I wouldn’t like to comment on somebody else’s player.”

Former Bayern Munich goalkeeper Rouven Sattelmaier, ex-Siena striker Francesco Stella, released AEK Athens defender Anestis Argiriou and former Boca Juniors midfielder Francesco Celeste have all been training with McCoist’s squad.

“We’re still monitoring the trialists and they’ll be here for another three or four days most of them. There is probably one or two coming in over the weekend so we’re in a position where we’ll keep monitoring and if anyone impresses we’ll be in a position to offer them something.

We’re hopeful that we can certainly get four or five anyway over the line before the window closes.

Mr McCoist wants to sign four or five players because he is not happy with the quality of his squad. I am not sure how that would make me feel if I was one of the twenty-five members of the Rangers FC first team squad listed on the official website. The majority of the players have been capped at some level, or else are battle-hardened veterans of football elsewhere, such as Emilson, the Brazilian signing.

The unfortunately monikered Rafael Scheidt, which was not a misnomer. Proof that not all Brazilian players are not as skillful as Pele. How will Emilson fare at Ibrox?

I suspect, but have not checked, that the Rangers FC has more capped players than the rest of SFL3 out together, and possibly more than the entire SFL added up!

Let’s look at the squad he has anyway.

There are 25 players in it. The SFL only allows 22 players to be registered aged 21 or over. Presently, of the 25 man first team squad (and ignoring the 17 players listed as reserves and youth team) 14 are over 21, 3 are 21 and 8 are under 21.

The players Mr McCoist is trialling and targeting are unlikely to be under 21 players. If he gets five more, then he would have 19 over-21s. Come January 1 2013 the three 21 year olds would count against the limit. The roster would be full.

None of the above takes account of the nine players to be loaned from Newcastle to the Rangers FC either.

So, if Mr McCoist’s plan works, he will have a first team squad of thirty players.

In Scottish football the squad lists are not always 100% reliable, but I did some research.

In SFL3, the largest first team squads, outside the Rangers FC, are at Annan Athletic and Queen’s Park, with 24 each. The average among the nine non-Rangers FC teams is 20.5 players.

In SFL2, the largest first team squads are at Alloa Athletic and Ayr United, with 24 each. The average is 20.2 players.

In SFL1, the largest first team squads are at Livingston, with 27 players and then at Morton and Hamilton, with 24 each. The average is 21 players.

In the SPL, the largest first team squad is at Celtic with 31 players and at Dundee and Kilmarnock, with 30 each. The average is 26.8 players.

Does Mr McCoist need a squad which in Scottish football is only surpassed in number by Celtic? Does he need 50% more players, and of a much higher quality, than the teams against which the Rangers FC will play 36 League games?

One of the things for which Graeme Souness deserved praise in his managerial spell at Rangers was the way that he bought enormous numbers of players, similar to how managers like Harry Redknapp and Sam Allardyce have acted since. The skill Souness had was that he was ruthless about letting players go if he thought they would not fill a need at the club. His tactics worked at Rangers, but did not do so well for him elsewhere in his managerial career.

Harry Redknapp preparing to buy another ten players before lunch

It is the “easy” solution for a manger though – to get more and more players in, searching for the needle in a haystack. However, in the SFL3, I suspect that different managerial skills are needed from those required to succeed in European competition, for example.

Has Mr McCoist realised that? It does not look like it. Instead we have a manager with a player wage bill maybe 20 to 30 times as high as his competitors, who is insistent that he needs more players as his existing squad is not good enough for SFL3.

His loyalty to the team has made him even more of a hero than he was with the fans of the Rangers FC. How far will that go to saving him, in the event that there are a couple more poor results and he remains, in public at least, clueless as to the reasons?


I know that some might comment that he needs to build up his numbers as he will not be able to register new players after 31st August 2012 until 1st January 2014. However, as described, combining the first team squad and the reserves and youth teams gives him 42 players, before any of the new additions mentioned. And at least four of the squad would reach the age of 21 in 2013, thus counting against the 22-man limit as at 1st January 2014.

This only seems viable if the plan is to sell off players, either this week or at Christmas, to keep the doors open. Is that the plan? If so, saying that his squad is not good enough seems an odd way to generate interest and to motivate the players!

Posted by Paul McConville


Filed under Football, Rangers, SFL

72 responses to “Ally McCoist’s Managerial Foibles, the “Hinge Factor” and Rangers’ Downfall

  1. TheSwissBankie

    I feel McCoist is too much of a fan to take a step back and apply some pragmatism to the situation. His constant talk of “More bodies, better quality” is what you expect of the tabloid press and phone ins. An astute manager would have looked at the Gretna situation, and copied their blue print for marching through the divisions. They are wasting money that could easily have been stockpiled for when it genuinely was needed, and very little of what has happened so far makes much sense when looked at for more than a few seconds. Sure, a couple of high profile “Rangers men” coming in would always have happened, but the numbers of relatively highly paid journeymen are scary, or at least should be.

    If the plan is, as you suggest it may be, to punt the players at the next possible opportunity, then it’s a massive risk. Recent results and performances will only bring down the value of most of them. At the current rate, they will end up with players that no one else will take. You also have to factor in that some of the players won’t be allowed to sign for someone else in January, as they’ll have played for 2 clubs this year already, so they’ll be stuck with a large wage bill until the end of the season.

    There are countless other questions that come up, but right now I don’t have the time to put them down. Needless to say, they won’t be asked by the pundits.

  2. beanos

    He has definitely picked up his mentor’s solution to most problems of buying better players than the opposition but doesn’t seem to have inherited his skill in organising a team.

    Time will tell. Trying to get through the lower divisions could be the making of him but its disappointing that the tactics seem to be to attempt to buy their way out rather than give a chance to some of the youngsters alrrealready there. Not sure what it says to them about their abilities that they aren’t

  3. TheBlackKnight

    Anyone else could simply argue that *The Rangers (Sevco Franchise) appear to want to ‘buy’ their way out of the league. Being debt free, after shamelessly stiffing so many, it is unsurprising that their spend spend spend attitude remains intact.

    I simply cant understand why the media have been so lenient on that or on McCoist …….. or can I ?

    No other manager has been afforded such!

  4. beanos

    reply fail.

    The last sentence should say, not sure what it says about their abilities if they aren’t considered good enough for the 3rd division

  5. JimBhoy

    Some good points Paul, I made similar comments a few weeks back on your blog when Ally had similar cries for more bodies… it smacks of desperation and inexperience. I was a critic of Lennon in the past too but his transfer dealings have been very good, ably backed up by a team of good talent spotters looking for value for money (the key). Celtic have let a fair number go this year maybe 8 and if they brought in 3 (inc the keeper) for that I would be happy that we are hopefully increasing the quality levels where it is needed most. A lennon v Ally comparison is, at present, impossible based on the gulf in quality of tournament they face for the most part. However I would say Lennon will be in his present job longer than Ally will be in his.

    On the subject of the 22 player rule, would you really be surprised if Rangers brought in 3 or 4 knowing it was going to (maybe eventually) break that SFL rule, just to see what reaction they would get from Longmuir and co.. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest, antagonism seems to be Green’s ploy these days.

    You also make a good point about how the current playing staff must feel when McCoist makes those disparaging remarks. Strangely he mentioned 3 players missing as a bit of an issue, Broadfoot, well maybe a loss because SFL 3 is definitely his level, Sheils just in the door how can he be a big miss and Wallace a young player who IMO foolishly displayed a bit of immaturity when he declared he was staying with the club in the 4th division, good to see some loyalty in football but I fear it may have a huge impact on his footballing future, maybe his own ‘Hinge factor’, hindsight will tell. Did they not move out an experienced international defender recently 🙂 That seems a bit daft if he is moaning about 2 of 3 unavailable presently who are defenders!!! Broadfoot, a defender in the loosest possible sense..!

    I met McCoist on a plane from heathrow years ago seemed like a nice guy I just wonder how much of the past 6 months or more has really affected him. Either way from what I hear he is now a shareholder so if removed he still has an interest…

  6. Pensionerbhoy

    Perhaps there is an exodus in the offing, Paul. Broadfoot has waved goodbye under instruction, I believe, and it is muted there will be others exiting via the marble staircase or tradesmen’s entrance even. This would, to some extent at least, justify considering the need to increase a depleted squad but the same questions still remain regarding size and quality. I am not so sure that ‘the cheeky chapy’ of Question of Sport fame will stave off the gnashing teeth and frothing lips of ravenous supporters with a wee jocular quip or a disarming smile. He is no longer in that cocoon of security once provided by institutions, establishments and social structures for his older and much larger ex-club as a protection against all-comers. Instead, having nailed his colours to an uncertain mast, he stands unsteadily in an unforgiving and as yet barren landscape, vulnerable to the whims and fancies of a disgruntled support whose once immovable ‘loyalty’ to club and cause is being sorely tested on a variety of fronts in an unwanted and inglorious battlefield.

  7. JimBhoy

    On a purely TV/Footballing front I am enjoying seeing the lack of facilities and pundits huddling under canopies etc. The fun factor is only going to increase as the weather closes in. I coach under 14s and some of the weather we stand through for an hour and a half in the winter often makes you question any commonsense you think you have.

  8. JimBhoy

    @PensionerBhoy I heard that rumour too and Edu going and the on loan for Goian and Bocanegra uncertainty. This does raise a question of who is making these footballing decisions. I think we all know…

    It will be hard for McCoist now that he has stated Green is his best pal. Sounds like Green has played Ally a flanker, Ally gets to take the flak for bad performances and green is tidying up the wage bill in the background.

    This will be sold to the punters using Green’s evasive tactics of blame and ambiguity. SFL/Longmuir’s fault for the 22 player rule (how ludicrous, rules in football!! what next!) and Ally and Green bemoaning (once again) the transfer embargo sold as a harsh penalty/sanction against that upstanding club through no fault of their own, criminally handed down by that pal of Lawell, Mr Regan.

    Teflon Green.

    • Pensionerbhoy

      Could not agree more. Ally is without doubt the fob for Green’s deceptions, knowingly or unwittingly I can not decide. Personally, I do not believe that the current financial manipulation is not still controlled by and under instruction from either Whyte or D.M. or both. I believe, and the recent share disclosure seems to bear me out, that Ally was BOUGHT over by Green with a share offer and perhaps some limited inside information about plans afoot to ‘make a bomb’. It would not surprise me if Ally’s greedy eyes are seeing either the C.L. Cup in his hands 🙂 in a few years or £ signs for his own bank account. On both counts I think he is too naive to cope with the gangsters he is dealing with and will be very easily duped. These guys have been around the business circus for too long. However, there has always been a part of me that has regarded Ally as very sleekit (I remember well many of his fouls and subsequent angelic looks of innocence) and I am not so sure he is not as devious as even the green, white and murray elements of this saga. The future of this story looks interesting, very interesting!

  9. RichW

    The “hinge factor” is a highly flaky way to consider historical events – entertaining tho’ it is – as it either assumes everything else stays the same or that the consequences can be predicted. Smacks too much of “historical inevitability” to me!
    In the Rangers case, most likely Alimac Hoist would have wasted all and more of potential Champions League money on poor “marquee” players, thus hastening not halting Rangers descent into financial meltdown!

  10. mick

    what a great read Paul we all know sally mcc is not up to the job hes a joker from question of sport why walter picked him a dont know ,the statements he makes are wayward just like his managereral skills also he put people at risk via “who are these people the fans have the right to know”hes the biggest joke in scottish football at the moment

  11. mick

    theres just some amount of jokes on super ally and vids it would take days to go throw them all a thought a would pick some of my favs to share with yous

    • James

      @mick . Watty needed some fool with ambition to take the hot seat after HE baled … Sally was the perfect putsy.
      I fully suspect Watty new the storm was coming !

  12. Nice one Paul,

    Sally is a wee lost soul in a mire of mess. His mentor has deserted him and he never really had a clue about fulltime football management. He has proved that he is not capable of operating as a manager or coach. His lack of skill is apparent to most individuals in football, despite his “cheeky chappy” approach.

    I have met the man on 2 or 3 occasions and he is actually a nice guy. I have respected his loyalties until his outburst as posted by Mick and subsequent WATP claims that show his ignorance and total lack of judgement.

    He should seriously consider that he hands over to someone more capable. He is just not cut out for the role even in the 4th Division. He is using the only way that RFC chose to play by and thats buy buy buy…….

    Look at his nemisis in NL he has embraced the youth development and bought wisely turning good profit as recently shown in Ki to Swansea move. Even now he has 1 or 2 in mind not 5 and he has CL football pending.

    As a shareholder he will have as much say as the previous shareholders I am sure, if he had an intellect worthy of his status then he should have taken the money he was due under the last company and not the share option, although you never know he might end up with a “windfall” in Tesco pts.

    For sure thats the only windfall he is likely to have this season or beyond.

    I would like to see TRFC actually sort themselves out but after the flurry of media blasts 2 weeks ago, its all gone very very quiet again from them. Maybe they have just realised that now they have the SB money they can quietly get on with the struggle that has been presented to them both in financial and footballing terms. Or maybe they have just realised that the face a real tough time and in the event of the tribunal finding against them, no matter how many they buy, if they are expelled from the SFA then it does nt really make any difference.

    6 months ago I would have supported them remaining in the league, IF, they had come clean and “repented”. Unfortunately they have sprunned that opportunity along with a healthy section of the support and now sadly I wish they would just leave the stage of Scottish football and let the rest of us get on with enjoying our football at all levels.

    One last point, it is significant that TRFC did not entertain the prospect of registering a team in the new under 20 league. Another poor management decision that signifies lack of ambition as far as youth development is concerned at the club, but again that is nothing new.

  13. mick

    last but not least

  14. JimBhoy

    @Mick Trawling through Youtube looking for Rangers pie references… 🙂

  15. iain

    HAs all pretence that this is a “scots law blog” now been dropped?
    When did you start blooging “indepth” analysis of football Paul?

    Can we expect some more on any other clubs or managers?
    Or is it only Rangers and McCoist your target audience are interested in?

    • mick

      @iain hi you have not been on for a while the reason paul has picked sevco and mcc as the topic is because they are breaking lots of laws the msm dont mention it the above article is highlighting the fact that mcc is a dud and sevco are soccer law breakers and were in scotland so its all covered by scots law theres no pretence here iain just factual reports

      • iain

        Well as I say….he has to pander to his target audience.

        Anyway…I see I already have two “thumbs down”

        Where’s these Green PR men when I need them??


        • Iain,

          I am sure there at a lot of things I could post if I was pandering to a target audience. Maybe if in some way driving traffic to the site made me money, then the temptation might be there. But it doesn’t (and if there is a way I could, can someone tell me).

          The post on the football issues re Mr McCoist’s management was intended to address the apparent lack of media comment on the issue of his capability. Plenty of other managers are analysed to death after one or two lapses.

          Call it part of the “succulent lamb” series.

          As far as your comment about this being a “Celtic site”, then I think you fall into the trap of many who feel that anyone who is remotely critical of anything to do with Rangers is per se and ipso facto a “Timmy”, being one of the more polite epithets used.

          There are forty teams in senior Scottish football outside Celtic and Rangers.

      • ecojon


        Quite correct Paul that the media are very quiet on Ally and his ‘boot it high up the park tactics’.

        Not so on Rangers supporters boards where an unbelieveable number of Bears are actually saying he has to go and they are running polls on whether he should stay or not.

        I would have thought by the amount of threads devoted to the issue on the Darkside that McCoist supporters would be too busy trying to bolster their man on Rangers sites.

        And @iain the PR people are currently mainly engaged in making sure that certain sectarian songs aren’t sung at Ibrox and if they are that the offending wording is changed. I have to say it is one of the Green initiatives that I fully endorse. Of course I realise that it is probably down to his worry about the AIN Flotation being hit by bigotry charges which will be investigated this week on Thursday at the SFA I believe?

        I thought Ally’s appointment was wrong in much the same way as I thought that Lennon’s was. Does that make me biased against both Celtic and Rangers or just someone expressing a personal opinion. But using the ‘hinge’ factor they have travelled different paths and my opinion now is that Lennon has got over his inexperience and hopefully conquered his temper and I think there is a pretty good chance he could make a great Celtic manager.

        As to Ally the future to me looks bleak. It isn’t just his initial inability to adjust to SFL3 but the throwing away of last season’s SPL points lead. And just as Lennon’s Achilles heel was his temper I genuinely believe Ally just doesn’t have it in man management terms he eternally seeks to be one of the lads. And I don’t think he actually has the ability to manage an SPL team although over the next few years, if he lasts that long, we will dicover whether he can make a good SFL manager.

    • ecojon

      yawn yawn iain’s back – his mate will be right behind them

    • kieren

      It’s only Rangers that this discredited solicitor can comment on as anything else in the legal sense he is intanly discredited but the Rangers critics will all to readily believe everything that is placed before them. Very similar to the discredited social worker and bigot against Rangers Phillip McGillivan who,to try and give some credibility to himself and his audience, changed his name to the Irish equivalent. Quite sad really that both of them are only taken seriously by those who can’t think for themselves and understand the hatred to a football club that both of them have.

      • ecojon

        well as soon as you get iain the pestilential smell of bile and bigotrt ain’t far behind. If you removed the blinkers from your eyes you would find that most posters on here are perfectly capable of standing up and arguing for their position whatever that might be. You only exhibit how sad that you are personally and how incapable you are of framing a decent argument. And before you accuse me of having any hatred for Rangers I would advise you to read my posts on here without taking anything out of context.

      • Al ross

        Kieren, I really take exception to being told I cant think for myself. I was born and brought up in the Church of Scotland, was in the BB’s for over 40 years and I support Glasgow Celtic and have done all my life. Pray enlighten me as to how I can’t think for myself or perhaps its a case of the poy calling the kettle black.

      • Dear Kieren,
        I do not support Rangers or Celtic. I have contributed to Therangerstaxcase since february 14th, although only on the business transaction analysis front. I really feel for the genuine Rangers fans who have witnessed this whole situation. Having said that Rangers, in the form of their owners, are the architects of their own downfall. I would agree that some Celtic fans are expressing emotional and unhelpful commentary about the situation although as you will appreciate, this is hardly a shock. Paul Mc Conville, in my opinion, is doing a great job in demystifying the Rangers situation in a pretty neutral way and it might be a good idea to study what he is saying. Knowledge is power and Paul is providing you with enough knowledge to be able to make an informed opinion about your club. Had there been enough informed opinion within your fan base allied to Alistair Johnston,s wholly accurate, and at the time unwelcome, commentary, then this whole situation might have been avoided.
        The point here is that your club’s new business plan sounds pretty poor to me and if I was a fan I would be worried. The floation concept to overcome your current cash burn sounds worryingly optimistic to me. Your last rights issue when you were SPL campios and in Europe was a complete disaster. Why, you must ask, will this plan work this time? You are signing all kinds of 30 year old plus European journeymen who will not fit into Div 3. Should you be asking if there is a relativity to the number of Agent type investors/advisors and the number of these type of players on trial at present. Mr Green himself pioneered signing Greek players in his time at Sheffield United and now interestingly some are turning up at Ibrox. I thought that your supporters were looking for your young players to spearhead your challenge. Have you pondered about the change in Ally Mc Coists position relative to Mr Green and the season tickets. Were you concerned to find out that Mr Mc Coist now owns 4.5% of the club and that he may have lost some of his independence on this subject. Have you fully understood the Sports Direct deal? Do you as a fan think it is in the best interest of your club.
        My old mother used to say that making a mistake was not a big issue although making the same mistake twice was unforgiveable…………..she was, as always, correct. So my totally independent advice to you is to study and understand what Paul is saying and use your knowledge to prevent the next Craig Whyte or Charles Green from causing further damage to your club…………and start right now! Paul is not your enemy……….the enemy may be within!

  16. mick

    @jimbhoy Obsessively trawling :-0 lol did you see him scoff the pie than swig a drink lol

    • ecojon


      That was him getting in some training for the great pie heist – i’ll need to look at that shareholding again – was it £500,000 or 500,000 pies?

  17. JimBhoy

    @mick and it was sloppy seconds…

  18. Interesting Paul, as ever. I remember a Modern History lecturer at Glasgow University calling said ‘hinge factor’ the ‘Cleopatra’s Nose Theory of History – ie, (and the history guys being a wee bit twee/coy) had she not had such a button of a nose/had a massive hooter, the course of history would have been changed irredeemably (not to mention Carry On films).

    On a personal note, I am grateful for a mention of Modern Studies – I’ve been in SE England for 25+ years and always have to explain this subject – my best at school (thank you George McNichol at St Tams).

    As regards McCoist, I believe it has been obvious since he was ‘striking coach’ with Scotland (where we promptly got beat 4 or 5-0 or somesuch in his first game) that he has neither the brains nor the mental toughness for management. Bless him, he has tried, but Kenny McDowell could do a better job on his own (and he’d be cheaper – sorry Kenny).

  19. Sean67

    Feel free to put this comment in moderation and/or not post it but am I the only one who thinks mick is spending way too much time with the many and varied “contributions” to the debate ?


    I personally do value some of your posts but a bit of time invested in spelling and punctuation would make them more readable and add to their impact. As for some of the other trivia. Please. It lowers the debate.


    • ecojon


      I for one never cease to be amazed at some of the things mick unearths in his contributions and hope this forum never descens into a debating society as that really would be a pity as we would lose touch with real life.

  20. mick

    @ Sean a spell as best a can were not all rocket scientists on here but what a will do is master the art of spell checking via the computer also the main reason am here is factual info on the rfc saga its only here and rtc and the new sfms that seems to debate the mirky back drop to it all ,a was reading last night bdo might take 5 year to sort the sevco deal so yous better brace yourselfs for 5 year of me a think by the end of it al be the most academic manual worker ever.if msm told the right story a would just buy a paper and that would be that but they dont

    • Robert D Bruce


      I enjoy most of what you post here and I don’t think the spelling or grammar is too big an issue for most. Please take heart from the following.

      I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch taem at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Such a cdonition is arppoiately cllaed Typoglycemia :)-

      Amzanig huh? Yaeh and yuo awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.

      • ecojon

        @Robert D Bruce

        Fascinating – there’s another one where if you take a horizontal line through the middle of text and split it into a top half and a bottom half then one half is a lot easier to read than the other. Can’t remember which now as this was an experiment from a long time ago but the one that was easier to read can be read with virtually the same speed and understanding as ‘normal’ text.

        Again from an addled memory I think the explanation was a mixture of the construction of the typeface used and also the way in which the eye ‘scans’ the text.

      • PaddyK

        I think there was also an experiment where the letters on a page were constantly changed in some words and people could not read it. There is also the theory that you may be understood verbally by only speaking every other word. Not apropos of Scot’s Law, but interesting none the less.
        Besides, have you ever seen the cavalier attitude there was to spelling in the middle ages?

  21. mick

    a try and keep my posts clean and fun and am well up for construtive critisim

  22. mick

    thanks charliedon nice of you to take time to say that .

  23. kieren

    Just have to ask this of the discredited solicitor,instead of trying to rip apart the ability of McCoist as a manager wouldn’t it be more prudent of you to try and reimburse the relatives of clients that were denied compensation because of your misconduct. I would have though that if you were a man of intgrity that you would be trying to right such a wrong,evidently though your bigotry against a football club and support takes priority in your view.

    • mick

      @ Kieren pauls not a bigot or discredited you have to stop getting your facts from msm as it makes you look deluded Pauls not even a celtic fan the reason most of Pauls commenters are celtic is because he is reporting facts and answering our questions the whole celtic community the world over hopes he does a book like phil so we can buy it to thank him and show a bit of Appreciation for his kind work in proving were not para ,your on here highlighting msm lies and propaganda from the succulant lamb crew ,Paul has lots of intgrity thats why on behalf of the nation he is telling us the rights and wrongs of whats going on at oldco newco tempco sevco if you were as hyper critical of msm then he would not have to do it but its the way it its ,get your facts right before you start slagging people of

      • kieren

        Mick,i couldn’t care whether the discredited solicitor was a Celtic man or not,that doesn’t interest me and by the way i don’t get information from MSM. However for you to state that he isn’t discredited is an absolute joke as this man can only practise under supervision,now if that isn’t discredited pray tell me what is. Now i couldn’t care less what team you support so please don’t try and tell me as to whether this man didn’t have his registration restricted by the SSDTafter admitting misconduct. That is someone who is discredited and has very little integrity but hey don’t you let the facts about him get in the way of everything that he puts to you as gospel. After all Mick you are bigoted against the football club that this is all about just as the discredited solicitor is,not forgetting of course McGillivan,all cut from the same bigoted cloth.

        • Kieren,

          I see you replied to mick and not to me. However proceeding to cast accusations of bigotry around like confetti is not on and not something I will let you continue doing here.

          I have been accused of bigotry by a number of people who seem to be Rangers FC fans. No one has ever been able to produce the slightest evidence of bigotry on my part, except for the “argument” that anyone who is less than 100% adulatory of Rangers is automatically a bigot.

          You are free to keep posting, but I will edit out the insults you seem keen to dispense.


      • mick

        pauls had thousands of satisfied customers from all walks of live 2 cliams got messed up out of thousands its commen in law due to large amount of paper work he held his hands up to it hes not discredited the whole amount of cliams mis handled came to less than10,000 its commen in law for this to happen hes helped rake in millions in other cliams

      • ecojon


        Quite honestly if you weren’t being driven by ewhatever blind hatred which seems to be affecting or possibly infecting your judgement you would well know that if The Law Society of Scotland felt that anyone was a discredited solicitor I doubt if they would be allowed to practice in any capacity.

        Also the practice of working under supervision is not an option as far as I am aware for discredited solicitors. It might actually surprise you how many solicitors actually end up working under supervision but for some reason you choose to attack one in particular but as I have repeated elsewhere you give no clues as to why this is.

        I wonder, could it be that Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s history book of how Rangers self-destructed, is what has raised your ire? If it is then burning books don’t have a look in when it comes to you. If you object to the book then buy it and criticise it as is your right but don’t launch snide attacks without at least being honest about your motivation.

  24. ecojon

    Oh Dear Paul – something must be hurting them today – I wonder what it could be 🙂

    • kieren

      Nothing hurting me that’s for sure and before you ask,no i’m not a Rangers man but i laugh at all you people that take in every word this discredited solicitor,for that is what he is,as gospel. Now can i have my question answered;has the discredited solicitor seen fit to reimburse the people that his misconduct cost deserved compensation.

      After all for months this discredited solicitor has been ripping apart every aspect of a football club whilst having the audacity to deny people compensation because of his incompetance and misconduct. The man has got very little credibility in the law profession but clowns like yourself lap up every word against a sports club,quite pathetic really. So if you are so intent on righting wrong ask him if he has paid any compensation. If he hasn’t then why not,it was his misconduct that forced the situation he found himself in,quite similar to Craig Whyte in fact. Hypocrisy in other words from Mr.McConville.

      • mick

        KIEREN if paul owed money the law society would have paid it thats the rules your quoteing from msm open your eyes hes not discerdited its all lies we have had this out a hundred times on here ,and were no clowns

      • Kieren,

        As I have said before, I made mistakes. I have apologised for my mistakes, and am paying the price for them still. I lost my business and was bankrupted. The main issue was delay in getting money to people, and I fell short of the required standards and for which I am deeply sorry.

        As was accepted by the Law Society, every penny was accounted for.

        Readers here are free, like you, to reach their own opinion on what I write. By all means tell me when I get something legally or factually wrong. However, saying that anything I say is automatically not worthy of consideration because of what I have been through is a pretty poor argument. But, as I said, it is up to you what you want to believe.

        As far as claiming that my situation and that of Mr Whyte are in any way similar…I would like to see that analysed in detail!

        If I can ask you a question, what was it which brought you to the site today?

        Have you been a reader for months?

        Which team do you support?

        Thank you for the interest. However, be civil and do not insult readers and commenters please.


      • mick

        when your in law the work load is massive and sometimes mistakes are made due to human error you have it all wrong your twisting the facts

      • ecojon


        Well I have read your rant again and Paul has answered – I have made horrendous personal and professional mistakes in my life which I and others close to me had to live with the consequences of.

        I tried to learn from my mistakes and I believe, by and large I have succeeded. One thing I have learnt along the way is always to try and help people up when they have hit rock-bottom even though it is often easier to leave them lying in the gutter. And involved at the heart of that process is to be non-judgemental except when some horrific crimes and atrocities have been carried out.

        We all make mistakes and I have always believed that if people are honest about them – firstly to themself and then to others and try and makes amends then they deserve the chance to have a fresh start.

        It would appear that you don’t or perhaps your attack is based on something else because obviously something deep is behind your extremely personalised attack and you have chosen, for whatever reason, not to disclose your reason/s.

  25. Sean67

    Touché Mick.


  26. mick

    sallys a great topic it really touches raw nerves lets look at what he thought about whyte

  27. JimBhoy

    @ Kieren or how ever you spell your made up Irish sounding name, debate as you will and i am sure you have heard the administrator of this blog endure a few harsh comments from ill informed individuals like yourself…. However Paul has never tried to hide his responsiblities or history unlike the Rangers who want/don’t want their history. Cake and eat it..!

    I expect you follow the incumbents at Ibrox in whatever fashion and try to be the sensible face of the fans. Read the earlier blogs because it is constructive unlike any Rangers blog I have read… Totally vile!

    Apologies for typos, you may have a better keyboard to myself and Mick’s but you are here by invitation dude so keep it rational and real plz or go back to the red top blogs.

    love to hear anything on football related stuff. if your agenda does not cover that then fek off…

    • kieren

      Never mind the nonsense about a made up name,my name is Kieren,whether you believe that is neither here nor there to me but it seems that if someone who states that they are not a fan of either Rangers or Celtic if they don’t have a view that is acceptable to yourself then that person must be a Rangers fan,now that is a view that is bigoted,if you don’t like my reply then too bad on that.

      As for discussing football,not a problem but as i have said it seems that it isn’t football as such you and others want to discuss but rather more likely an out and out critcism of Ally McCoist. Just for your information i’m a Roman Catholic Partick Thistle supporter who has no time for the bigots amongst your support(Celtic) or indeed across the city. Hope that helps.

  28. kieren

    First of all i’ll apologise to Mr. McConville about the comparison to Craig Whyte,that was wrong of me. However as someone who is neither a Celtic or Rangers fan i’ll say that there has been a malicious attack on Rangers Football Club on this website for many months,and please before any of you start it,the club is Rangers,not Sevco or any other name,it’s nonsense like this that people have the opinion that this site is pro-Celtic and everything that Celtic or it’s fans stands for. When people can accept the name of the club and give that name on blogs such as this then just maybe you will get a more reasoned response. I have to say though that i doubt that the opponents of Rangers will give that any thought whatsoever. As to the form of Rangers at this moment in time why bring this up on a website that reputes itself to cover law,this isn’t a football forum so there is no excuse for this other than to try and belittle McCoist for recent results which haven’t been going well. Rangers are in the process of rebuilding the club,something that won’t happen overnight although i can accept that people want to see the club fail as soon as to give them something more to criticise the club,no other reason. However the personal abuse that McCoist is getting on here from many indeed shows that they are bigoted against the man and the club.

    • Kieren,

      First, it is my blog, and if I want to write about the price of fish in Grimsby, I will.

      Secondly the point of the piece was not to personally abuse or belittle Mr McCoist. Instead it was to point out what, to me, seemed an obvious point for professional reporters to comment on, namely what appear to be concerning comments about the competency of the manager.

      Speaking for myself, the point of referring to Sevco/ the Rangers etc is in an effort to distinguish between the various different entities both legally and in time.

      Referring to them all as “Rangers” would make my posts even more confusing!

      Thank you for the apology.

      However, as I asked before, where is the evidence of “malice” against Rangers Football Club?

      Finally, there is a huge difference between bigotry and dislike. As a Partick Thistle fan, for example, I assume that Celtic, Clyde, Queens Park and Rangers Football Club, as local rivals, are not your favourite teams. Does wanting your rivals to lose, or not wanting them to do as well as your club make you a bigot?

      As we saw with Mr Green, it is very easy to throw around accusations of bigotry. All that does, when applied indiscriminately, is to minimise the offences of real bigots.


    • ecojon


      As I think I have mentioned previously Rangers sites are lambasting Ally’s abilities as a manager and on one, a third of responses on a poll want him sacked. Personally whether Ally remains employed or not is a matter for Rangers and that means Green. But that doesn’t mean I can’t pass an opinion on his suitability not just to be the Rangers manager but whether he should ever have been picked in the first place.

      I think he was a mistake from the start and as I have also said on various forums I think Lennon was a mistake also. I have changed my mind with Lennon almost completely but still worry a little about his temper. I know that it comes from passion and btw I don’t decry Ally’s passion either. It’s just that being manager of an iconic football club carries a huge social and civic responsibility as well as a duty to the club support.

      As to what Rangers should be called – well you have me there because I don’t have a clue and I doubt if anyone other than Green and some of his closest financial associates know the actual answer.

      So, in order not to aid the confusion, just calling the club/company ‘Rangers’ isn’t helpful when trying to understand its corporate structure. And why would I as a Celtic supporter be interested in that. Quite simply because I believe that a strong successful Rangers, which gets rid up sectarian baggage, can be beneficial for Scottish Football and not just in financial terms.

      And I happen to believe that really serious financial problems could be facing Rangers in the short-term and if there is another collapse at the club I wonder if there will be enough assets left to again resurrect it.

      At the end of the day Scottish Football will survive the death of Rangers – it will be in a different form and organisation but it will survive. But that is no reason to desire the death of the club.

    • PaddyK

      May I ask how you feel about the way your own club was treated after going into administration?

      • David Stevenson

        Thistle have never been in administration, Paddy. In lots of financial turmoil in 97-98 which required a CVA to evade, but not in administration. The link below gives a list of the Scottish clubs that have been in this position:

        It was a nightmare and like lots of other Thistle fans I did what I could to raise funds as well as donating/spending what I could myself: raffles, selling badges, supporting fundraisers, playing a 6 hour shift in a 24-hour football marathon etc. The club suvived and has had ups and downs since then (the downs mostly associated with SPL shenanigans and carve-ups, but there’s insufficient time to go into that). The unsecured creditors lost a lot (payment was at 40p in the £), but did better than the creditors of Dundee 2 years ago (6p in the £).

        Anyway, unlike Kieren, I believe McCoist’s strategy as a manager is pertinent to this site, because it is going to impact on the economics at Ibrox. It was economic mismanagement that brought the situation at Ibrox to it’s current point and that has opened up a legal minefield through which it has been handy to have some pointers from people like Paul McConville. I don’t rate McCoist’s apparent strategy nor his stated rationale for just about anything.

        As a Thistle fan myself, I witnessed Kyle Hutton playing for us last season on loan from Rangers and was very impressed. He played 12 games during which time we gained 19 points. Following his departure, we went into a bit of a freefall (collecting only 24 points from the remaining 20 games).

        He wasn’t flamboyant or anything, but he did a very disciplined midfield job well, and even if he is no world beater, he is miles above SFL3 level. He is also not overpaid; on losing his driving licence and being fined, he quoted wages of £25Kpa to allow his fine to be paid in instalments. Sandaza and Sheils get that lavished on themselves every month!

        Kyle Hutton is a good young Scottish footballer whom you might expect to be a lynchpin of The Rangers FC as they strive to rise through the Divisions, but he’s played only 2 of their 6 fixtures to date. He hasn’t even featured on the bench in many of those fixtures. As far as I am concerned, McCoist is doing it all wrong, though long may it last: I am frankly loving following the exploits of Club 42 in SFL3.

  29. Dunderheid

    Why is it that every time the Mechanics get into the Scottish Cup, they draw some diddy team from the depths of the fourth division?

    Have to say that it’s a fantastic draw and, should the good guys prevail, I can say that all my (fitba) dreams will have been realised.

    Thanks must go to the formerly cheecky chappy…………Comical Ally.
    I was of the opinion that he would be a bit out of his depth as a manager in the SPL, but he’s exceeded all my expectations………..he’s not waving, he’s drowning!

    A question of sport – do you know what you’re doing Coisty?
    “Aye, nae confidence, nae team spirit, ah wish ah knew where that comes from, honestly.”

    Any idea who’s to blame for that?
    “Er, it wis white, then green, the SFA, the SPL, a big boy that ran off, no word of a lie”

    So, what’s your master plan?
    “Eh, mare bodies, ah tell ye, we need to get mare bodies in, quality bodies anaw, honest.”

    How will you fare against the Highland League champions?
    “To be honest, that’s a daft question. We simply don’t do winning away”

  30. Carl31

    Talk about ignoring the ball and playing the man.

    If any of the blogs I read (RTC, Guardian – various, CH4, etims, TSFM, this one, to name just a few) spout bollox … I argue, challenge and ultimately stop reading. Thats true regardless of the authors background, history, profession or area of expertise.

    Try it. Try simply answering the points made in the article. Points that would have the same validity in logic or rationality regardless of who made them. Personally, I dont see too much wrong with the various points made in the post – but I would add that I cant help feeling a bit sorry for McCoist.

  31. @Paul, could this be the price of success? Maybe you now need to split your comments between those who are adding to/discussing the topic at hand and one for complaints titled along the lines of ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ (or should that be ‘Disgusted of Firhill’?).

    @Kieren, you really a Jags man. No disrespect, but you don’t seem a Jags man to me – at least not like any I have ever met (and I’ve met scores of them, went to school with loads of them). I’ve always thought of them as the (self-proclaimed, it must be said) connoisseurs of Scottish football, and the off-field banter/patter was to me the main reason for the phrase ‘Firhill for thrills’. But I’ve been away for a while and maybe things have changed.

    But honestly, as one of the ‘Chosen People’, what’s your view on the points raised in Paul’s post here? I agree, it may not fit the overall ‘Scots Law’ remit of the title, but as Paul has rightly pointed out, it’s his ba’ and his rules, so there. (What can you do eh?) So, anyway pal, do you think McCoist is a good manager? Or is he proving his inexperience/unsuitability to the task at hand? Or do Rangers need a promotion expert of the Harry Bassett variety?

    PS. On a personal note, I think it’s bang out of order of you to have a go at Paul about past mistakes in the context of this blog. He has used his knowledge of the legal side of things, and his training in law, to give possibly the most unbiased, succinct and cogent explanation of a very complex subject – the Fall of Rangers Football Club – that you’ll find anywhere. And all off his own back – you should thank him. What happened during his professional work should have no bearing on this. As an example (sort of), I missed a penalty in the last minutes of a final of Glasgow schools cup at Rosebery park, but I still feel qualified enough to argue the toss with you or anyone else about football (especially you though).

  32. Marching on Together

    You mention John Barnes in your piece, Paul.

    Did you see the recent documentary on BBC3 by Clark Carlisle on racism in football, where John Barnes boldly asserted that if he had not been black he would have been given more time at Celtic, and that his sacking by Celtic was racist? Nothing to do with him having been a rubbish manager in every job he has been in.

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