WHEN Craig Whyte arrived at Ibrox the day after taking control of Rangers a year ago last week, he was given a hero's welcome by relieved supporters.
Fans, who mistakenly believed the businessman would save their club, clapped and chanted Whyte's name.
That Charles Green, the man fronting a consortium that is hoping to complete a takeover, was not afforded such a reception at Perth yesterday told a story. Only a small ripple of applause came from the visiting crowd as the former Sheffield United chief executive arrived at McDiarmid Park.
The events of the last season, the past few months especially, have meant that whoever takes charge of the club will always be viewed with some suspicion. Fans have looked on helplessly as the world-famous 140-year-old institution has been taken to the brink of extinction by the questionable business practices of those charged with its safekeeping.
Even if Green and his myriad business partners, who hail from Asia, the Far East, the Middle East and England, deliver the CVA that ensures Rangers avoid the unthinkable prospect of liquidation, he will still be treated with caution.
However, McCoist spoke with Green at length on Saturday after Duff and Phelps agreed to make his consortium preferred bidders and, as has been the case in his dealings with every interested party, was upbeat afterwards. The Rangers boss said: "I met Charles and spent a couple of hours with him and I remain as positive as ever.
"He is certainly very positive, knows what he wants for the club and aims to take the club forward. That is what we all want.
"I can understand supporters being wary, being guarded, because of what has happened.
"But we have to get behind Charles because of the situation and hope that in the future he will be the man to take the club forward.
"There is still a lot of work to be done before the deal can be done. But we are a step nearer safety and I am delighted.
"I remain very hopeful, pleased at the progress that has been made."
The Rangers supporters may not have had anything to celebrate on the final day of the league season – other than the end of what has undoubtedly been the most tumultuous season in their long history – for the first time in four years.
But they still turned out in force to display their undying commitment to their club and their support of the players and management working under the most difficult conditions.
In what is becoming a regular occurrence at McDiarmid Park, the travelling contingent outnumbered those backing the home team.
It was another reminder of what Rangers bring to the SPL's away grounds – atmosphere and, not least, much-needed income – to those who will vote on whether to allow them back into the top flight later this month.
The Rangers players did not let their followers down. Their commitment was admirable under the circumstances, the standard of their all-round play impressive given nothing other than pride was at stake.
Lee McCulloch, rightly named captain in the absence of Carlos Bocanegra and Steven Davis, got the scoring underway in the first half after being the recipient of a fine through ball by Sone Aluko.
The Nigerian internationalist, who is the stricken Govan club's form player, bagged a hat-trick himself in the second half to take his tally for this term to a respectable 12.
If Green and his various associates succeed in taking control of Rangers, either in their present form or as a newco, then they must make securing the services of the skilful winger a top priority.
Doing that would go some way to ingratiating them to a fair few of their new customers.
Only time will tell whether the St Johnstone game was the last Aluko and his team-mates will play for Rangers.
Demotion to the Irn-Bru Third Division, a fate that remains a possibility, would almost certainly result in the vast majority of the existing squad departing.
McCoist, who has been told his own position is safe, revealed Green is aware of the importance of stabilising the club quickly in order to retain players whose contracts expire on May 31 and who also have get-out clauses in their deals.
He said: "One of the major positives out of what has been the blackest season in the club's history is the bond that has been created between the players and the fans."
If it was this Rangers team's farewell then the players were certainly given a fine and fitting send-off by the Ibrox supporters who will forever be grateful for the sacrifices they have made to keep their club alive.