The Gers boss has seen his side romp away with the Irn-Bru Third Division title this season but crash out of two cup competitions to top-flight sides Inverness Caley Thistle and Dundee United.
A number of McCoist's SPL signings have failed to fire on all cylinders so far and the Ibrox gaffer knows progress will be slow in the years to come.
He said: "It is going to be a long road. When the time comes that we are allowed to bring players to the club, you are not going to bring the quality of players sadly that is going to get you straight back to a top-level team.
"What the job will have to be is improving the team and the squad to win a division, win a league then re-adjust.
"The players we would obviously want to play with us at the top level will not want to play with us at this moment.
"We have got everything to play for in terms of our main objective which was to get promotion from the league.
"The players will certainly know their responsibility and their duty is to go out and make sure it is not flat."
Rangers suffered their most comprehensive defeat of the campaign last Saturday as they slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Tannadice in the William Hill Scottish Cup.
McCoist's side were never in the contest as their SPL rivals ran away with the tie, but the Light Blues boss insists his side can bounce back quickly.
He said: "When criticism is due and warranted they get it, they got it [on Saturday], some of the players individually.
"But the flip side of the coin is that [United] knocked us out twice in the last three years when we had Allan McGregor, Nikica Jelavic, Steven Naismith, Steven Whittaker and Steven Davis.
"I'm not going to underestimate the disappointment, but I am not going to go crazy about it either.
"I really would be going crazy if we weren't in a comfortable position in the league, because that is really where we have to be judged. We have to improve, regroup and win the next league game. Cup runs are nice but by far not the biggest thing."