McCoist expects Old Firm to leave Scotland

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The Independent Football

Ally McCoist believes the Old Firm will join a North Atlantic league or the Barclays Premier League sooner rather than later.

While the Rangers assistant boss' old Celtic foe Frank McAvennie told an ESPN press gathering in Belfast yesterday he could not see the two Scottish giants moving "in my lifetime", McCoist was much more optimistic.

The future of the two clubs has been a debate for a considerable time but in recent days - with the revelation of Rangers' cash crisis and only 18,000 Celtic fans attending the midweek cup game against Hearts at Parkhead - it has become a debate with added fuel.

Ahead of Sunday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League trip to Dundee United, McCoist said: "I think Rangers and Celtic need to be looking at the bigger picture.

"Currently, we are unable to compete financially with the likes of Wigan, Burnley, Hull City or Bolton.

"But, with respect, we are bigger clubs.

"We cannot compete with the market those clubs offer. We need a piece of the action.

"There will be miles and miles of debate and it may be a distant way off but, realistically, the future of the Old Firm, in my opinion, lies elsewhere.

"I can only imagine most clubs in England, especially those in the Premier League, would reject the idea but I am optimistic it will happen.

"I would be more positive that a North Atlantic league might happen sooner - that would suit Rangers and Celtic.

"The days of signing the likes of Michael Laudrup, Tore Andre Flo, John Hartson and Chris Sutton are gone as far as Scottish football is concerned.

"I don't think it's a crime that clubs should want to better themselves and if it's in a new league then so be it.

He added: "The danger is things will only get worse for the Old Firm.

"Just look at the situation of our club at this time. It's incredible that Rangers is in debt and has to sell off first-team players but that is a statement about Scottish football.

"We have to do what is best for Rangers and Celtic people will say the same about their club and I think both clubs agree that they cannot compete in the future the way things stand in the present.

"It's really difficult to take but we are no longer a strength in Europe. Other countries have overtaken us and Rangers and Celtic have stalled. If we are to progress, the situation has to be addressed now."

Dundee United striker Jon Daly last night revealed how he has eaten his way onto the comeback trail.

The Irishman is set to make his long-awaited return from a knee injury by playing in a behind-closed-doors friendly next week.

Daly has been out since April after snapping his cruciate ligament but is a full six months ahead of schedule.

The 26-year-old has suffered the same problem before and noticed he piled on weight during his rehabilitation, so this time round he has made a huge effort to change his diet.

High-carbohydrate dishes like pasta have been binned, with stir fries and salads regularly on the table in the Daly household.

He revealed: "I've lost about a stone and, on top of that, my body fat percentage is down as well.

"I'm probably in the same shape I was when I was 20.

"It's obviously do with all the hard work gym in the gym and, even more so, adopting a healthy diet.

"I still eat the odd steak now and again but basically my wife, Linda, deserves a lot of the credit.

"She's been keeping a close eye on me and I just eat what she puts down to me each night."