This will be a short post, but it is on an issue which is indicative, I think, of the view Rangers have about their present position, namely that they do not wish to acknowledge that it exists.
Mr McCoist is quoted on the official website today talking about plans for next season.
I recall that at least one player, Mr Bell from Kilmarnock, has been signed on a “pre-contract”.
Mr McCoist said:-
“I’ve certainly spoken in the last week or so to a good number of players that have shown an interest in coming to the club.
“We’ve obviously shown an interest in them in the first place but the feedback that we have had from players has been extremely positive which is reassuring.
“We do not have anything concrete yet but I’m hopeful that this time next week we would be able to give you a couple of names of players we have got over the line.
“Again I would hope that would be the start of a good few players coming in because we are really short on numbers.
“Anybody that has seen us throughout the season, especially in the last few weeks when injuries have piled up, would be crystal clear that we desperately need players of a good quality to get us through the next division wherever that may be.
“You look at the side we have played in the past two or three games and we’re playing 16 and 17-year-old kids and they are doing fine, absolutely fine.
“But is it the answer for next season full time? No it’s not because they need help, there is no doubt they need help.”
How can anyone fault what he says?
After all, as he says, how does a team cope with injury (and suspension and sacking players)?
There is only one small, but important, problem with what he says.
SFL Rule 115.2 states:-
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.
Looking at Rangers present first team squad (and ignoring the unfortunate Mr Sandaza, whose appeal might of course succeed) there are fifteen players who count as 21 or over. Five more have or will turn 21 this year, which means that they will count against the 22 man limit on January 1st, 2014. In addition Mr Bocanegra and Mr Goian are, supposedly, poised to return from their loan spells.
A quick bit of addition suggests that, on January 1st 2014, if the two loan players return, Rangers will have 15 + 5 + 2 players counting towards the 22 man limit. That totals 22!
That does not take account of Mr Bell, or of the two players whom Rangers expect to have signed up in the coming week, or the extra players Mr McCoist is talking about.
So how does he cut the numbers? Does he release players? Can he sell some? Or does he reduce some of his young players back to the reserves, or farm them out on loan, at the exact time when they would be looking to build on the SFL3 experience?
It would clearly be ridiculous to suggest that Mr McCoist, or his advisers, have forgotten about the player restriction, wouldn’t it?
Posted by Paul McConville