Scottish Championship: Rangers boss Ally McCoist expects tough challenge
Last Updated: 04/08/14 1:42pm
Rangers boss Ally McCoist says no-one should expect his side to stroll to the Scottish Championship title this season.
McCoist, who led his side to victory in Leagues Two and One over the past two seasons, believes the opening week of the campaign will give his team an indication of the 'far higher' opposition they will face in the coming months.
Rangers, who won 33 of their 36 games last season and topped the table by 39 points, take on Hibs in the Petrofac Training Cup on Tuesday before kicking off the league campaign against Hearts at home on Sunday.
"This is a great opportunity for us to get a couple of results against teams who the majority of people would see as being big challengers in the league," said McCoist.
"The majority of the teams are now full-time and will be a big jump in class, but I’m happy with where we are. We brought four in, a few have left, and we are certainly happy with what we’ve got.
“We feel we're ready for what will be a difficult campaign. Hibs and Hearts are in there but you have to look at other sides too, like Falkirk, Dumbarton and Raith Rovers. There is some good, good quality in the division."
McCoist also hopes that the financial uncertainty of recent years and the media scrutiny that accompanied the club’s fall from grace is behind them.
"It would be great if all I had to concentrate on was football matters," he said. "I have to say that I think things have absolutely calmed down. There are obviously one or two things that happen in all clubs that are for board members to deal with.
"That's not my gig, I'm manager of the football club and hopefully I can concentrate on the football issues.
"Certainly I think we can all agree that there are still issues. That's fine, all clubs have issues. But we are in a far calmer and far better place.
"I'm very, very hopeful that the team can put the club on the back pages for the right reasons.”
And McCoist is keen to impress on defender Bilel Mohsni the importance of remaining calm at all times.
The Tunisian was sent off in Saturday's friendly against Derby for aiming a head-butt at County striker Chris Martin.
"He has apologised because he knows he let himself down and let his team-mates down. We can't afford needless red cards," McCoist said.
"There is a package that comes with someone like Bilel but we want to cut out the silly stuff. I’ve had a good chat with him and what I can say publicly is that he knows he was wrong. We can't accept that type of behaviour.
"That hot-headed streak certainly does not help him as a player. If he could cut that out of his make-up it would make him a better all-round player."
Watch Rangers kick off their Championship campaign against Hearts from 1.30pm this Sunday on Sky Sports 1