Billy Davies gives McCoist his backing over Rangers woes


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The Independent Football

Billy Davies believes Ally McCoist deserves a break as the Rangers manager battles to deliver success under difficult circumstances.

The former Motherwell, Preston and Nottingham Forest boss was at Hampden today to make the draw for the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup but his old club were notable by their absence.

Rangers crashed out of the competition to Dundee United yesterday in front of a crowd of just 17,822 fans at Ibrox.

The Scottish champions' financial problems have been well-documented, as they await the verdict of a tax tribunal that could leave them facing a bill of £49million, and Davies has nothing but sympathy for McCoist.

He said: "Give him a break - that's what I say.

"He's working under very difficult circumstances and he is doing his best.

"He is also working under circumstances that are out of his control. So the message is to give him a break.

"At every club, three things happen. One, the board deals with finances and provides the finances for the manager and staff.

"You've then got the middle-men who negotiate the contracts to get the players in.

"Then the staff come in and take care of the players and do the best they can with the resources provided."

He added: "I think every fan goes through the ups and downs season after season. They will win and they will lose.

"At clubs like Rangers and Celtic there is a big desire constantly to win trophies.

"When you're dealing with this situation then it is very difficult for a manager and staff and players to go and prepare themselves for the next match knowing what's going on.

"It is difficult circumstances and I'm sure that many people will understand that.

"As 'Coisty' has been saying for the last week or two, it's time for everybody to get together and to continue to focus on the remaining matches."

McCoist already had to cope with injury to key players and saw his resources stretched further by the sale of top goal-scorer Nikica Jelavic to Everton, while being unable to secure a replacement before the transfer deadline.

Previous boss Walter Smith recently warned the club faces slipping back to the standards of the pre-Graeme Souness era if financial problems persist.

Davies, himself, was a player at Ibrox in the early 1980s and said: "I don't agree with it. I think football was different back then, training was different and preparation was different.

"Comparing then to now is very difficult because of how far we have come.

"What I do know is that finances in football at the moment are very difficult for many clubs.

"Hopefully over the next five years or so we will see things settling down and clubs putting themselves in good positions.

"Don't forget, back then, things changed only because of finance.

"In that period when Graeme Souness came in, there was big money spent on international English players and big money thrown at very good players abroad.

"Back then even, the finances played a big part and we all know that is very important. It's the same again today.

"If you've got the finances, it can certainly help you move the club forward and bring in the better players."

With Rangers now out of the Champions League, the Europa League, the Scottish Communities League Cup and the Scottish Cup, their only hope of silverware this season is the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title.

Celtic - who have played a game less than their Old Firm rivals - are in pole position with a single point advantage at the summit.

Asked if he believes McCoist can retain the SPL crown, Davies said: "I'm sure the players and staff will still believe they can win the league and they will focus on their next match and work very hard on the training ground."