Champions League Exit Raises Doubts Over Ally McCoist's Long Term Future At Rangers

Sean Raymond by Sean Raymond / 05 August 2011, 09:08

Welcome to life as a manager Ally McCoist. Just four games into his maiden managerial job at Rangers and he is already feeling the heat. The manner of the club's disappointing Champions League exit to little known Malmo on Wednesday evening (Rangers finished the game with just nine men) has thrown McCoist's credentials into the spotlight. Rangers were dumped out of the qualification stages of the lucrative European competition after failing to hold onto an early 1-0 lead that would have taken the game into extra-time. Instead a lapse of concentration allowed Malmo to equalise with ten minutes remaining and thus end the Scottish club's hopes of making the group stages.

Rangers are currently second in the Scottish Premier League so you would wonder why everyone is on McCoist's back. On the face of things four points from two league games is not a bad return and you would naturally assume that it's far too early to send a manager packing as the 2011/12 season has only just got underway. However, there has, of course, already been a managerial casualty in the SPL – Jim Jefferies was unashamedly axed by Hearts earlier this week after just two league games. No one, except perhaps Sir Alex Ferguson, is safe at any time or at any level of the game and Jefferies shock sacking was a cold reminder of how a few discouraging results can pile unwanted pressure on a manager. McCoist will no doubt bare this in mind and will be looking to bounce back with a few league wins.

Swedish club Malmo are distinctly average, and their win over Rangers merely highlights the plummeting standards of the SPL. The allure of Champions League football has been one of the key tools in attracting players to either of the Old Firm clubs. With McCoist's squad already lacking depth, he is now going to struggle to lure in the sort of high calibre players that would have been tempted if Rangers had made the lucrative group stages of Europe's elite competition. McCoist will be all to aware he has a lot to live up to following Rangers recent league successes. The club have won three consecutive league titles, and also two Scottish League Cups and a Scottish Cup within that period.

As a result of Rangers indifferent start the bookmakers have certainly not hesitated in slashing McCoist's odds, with Paddy Power cutting him from 14/1 to just 8/1 in the Next SPL Manager To Leave Betting. Rangers are next competitively in action away to Inverness on Saturday 13th August. In the meantime they have a friendly against Chelsea on Saturday.

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