Despite the stresses and strains imposed on his team by their lack of resources and only having a mere handful of international capped players, Rangers today achieved the goal for the season – victory in SFL3.
And for all of his critics, surely Ally McCoist’s achievement in his being the first team in Scotland to win its league (apart from Queen of the South in SFL2) will vindicate Mr Green’s decision to keep him as manager, despite the sceptics. And more so, to bring him on board as a major shareholder.
As any fan of football knows, it is the result that counts – not the way in which it is achieved – and as for all those critics who suggest that a team with the second or third highest payroll in Scotland, and a squad of full time players, should be beating teams of plucky part-timers by many goals each week, they clearly underestimate the quality of football present in SFL3.
After all, expecting a team whose annual payroll exceeds that of all of its combined opponents, and that by a factor of 3 or 4 at least, to dominate fails to appreciate the problems caused in playing against such highly motivated professionals.
No one, in this day and age of organised defences and fit football players can expect, for example, to beat opponents by an average of two goals per game (except of course for Queen of the South, whose goal difference of 63 in 31 games simply reflects what must be the poor standards of SFL2 by comparison with SFL3 and the abundance of resources available to the Doonhamers.)
Following today’s goal-less draw with Montrose, which maintains Rangers’ unbeaten run since losing to Annan earlier this month, Mr McCoist said:-
“I thought first 25 minutes was our best period of the game and that’s when we could have and should have scored. We had some decent opportunities during this time but things went a bit flat after that.
“The positive thing is that it was our third clean sheet in a row but the disappointing aspect is that we did not create nearly enough in the second half.
“We really don’t have two strikers at the moment because I don’t think Kal Naismith is an out and out striker and we obviously have the problem with Fran Sandaza while Kevin Kyle has left us and Andy Little is injured.
“We just want to get over the line. Of course we wanted to win the game but that point might just win us the league. I can understand the frustration from everybody – and we are just as frustrated – but we can only play with the cards we have been dealt.
“It’s a disappointment when you don’t get the results you want but that’s when you have to work very hard to turn things around. We have had two goal-less draws which is disappointing but we are one point closer to the Championship.”
As he says, it was one point towards the Championship, and indeed the winning one!
So, after all of the criticism he has faced and, with only the “cards he has been dealt” Mr McCoist joins the esteemed ranks of Rangers League Championship-winning managers
He has achieved the much sought-after 55th League win.
Who can doubt that, next season, with the chance to sign free agent players who will be eligible to play after 31st August, and with £20 million in the bank, Rangers under Mr McCoist will clearly be among the favourites to win SFL2 (if there is no reconstruction). Fortunately too, in that event, they would not face the challenge of Queen of the South, whose resources and assets have combined to give them such an overwhelming advantage over their SFL2 competitors this season.
Ally McCoist must look with envy at Palmerston and the riches which have allowed Allan Johnston and his assistant, Sandy Clark, to dominate SFL2.
Maybe, if there is reconstruction, Mr McCoist will have the chance of revenge against Queen of the South. After all, earlier this season they were held by Rangers to a 2-2 draw at Ibrox in the Ramsdens Cup, only scraping past their lower division opponents on penalty kicks.
Next season, with his squad re-inforced, and with the chance to play pre-season games, surely the plucky SFL3 champions will be in position to give a good account of themselves in whichever league they find themselves in.
And surely, for mastering the challenges he has faced with putting a team on the park, coping with resources less than any Rangers manager in recent history, and “playing with the cards he has been dealt” Mr McCoist is a certainty for manager of the year in SFL3. Any other decision would be a scandal, being in mind that his team has surged to the title before the end of March in such convincing fashion.
Posted by Paul McConville (in his sheepskin overcoat)