Teddy Bears enjoy picnic thanks to goal feast

ALLY McCoist will find out early this week if he will have any money to strengthen his Rangers squad during the summer months.

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McCoist was pleased with a comfortable win
McCoist was pleased with a comfortable win

Ibrox chief executive Graham Wallace will finally make public the eagerly-awaited findings of his 120-day business review on Friday.

Yet the manager, who has identified and spoken toseveral signing targets, will be told before then, possibly even today, what the future holds.

It is extremely difficult, though, to see how he can possibly be given significant funds given the parlous state of the Rangers finances.

Offloading some existing players - like those whose contracts expire at the end of the 2013/14 campaign - would be one way of freeing up cash.

But given that Rangers are currently operating well outwith their means and making sizeable monthly losses should they not, if anything, be cutting back?

The threat of many fans withholding their season ticket money in a trust fund, until security over Ibrox and Murray Park is granted, further complicates matters.

All will, of course, be revealed on Friday. But the chances are high that McCoist will have to go again with, by and large, the same set of players that has won SPFL League One this term.

The legendary goalscorer accepts that, while he would like to freshen, his current side will be able to challenge for their third successive promotion in the Championship.

And it was hard to argue with that viewpoint watching their display against Stenhousemuir on Saturday in their penultimate away game of the season.

Sure, the Light Blues were once again only up against part-time opponents - albeit ones who are hoping to secure a play-off spot.

Nevertheless, their all-round showing on the artificial surface at Ochilview was impressive.

McCoist's men netted four times; Stevie Smith, Dean Shiels, Lee McCulloch, who converted a penalty, and Nicky Law all got their names on the scoresheet.

That took their haul of goals in the 33 games they have played in the third tier to 100 - an admirable tally no matter what the circumstances.

"It was a very good performance against Stenhousemuir," enthused assistant manager Kenny McDowall.

"We were delighted to produce such a good performance at this late stage in the season. The boys were excellent.

"It was pleasing to reach 100 league goals for the season as Ochilview is a difficult place to go to. It could possibly have been more with the chances we created.

"We stifled Stenhousemuir. They couldn't get near our goal. When we got the ball we had good movement and the quality of goal was pleasing.

"It is vital they keep going because we have got a great support that comes to every game with us. They need to keep doing their work even though the league is won."

The comfortable wins over Forfar Athletic last week and Stenhousemuir at the weekend have been a good response by Rangers to the back-to-back cup defeats.

McDowall was especially pleased that Shiels, who had missed a gilt-edged chance against Dundee United the week before, netted for the second successive game.

He said: "Dean scored a good goal. He is a great lad and is well liked by the boys.

"He is putting in a good shift for the team at the moment and we are all delighted."

The involvement of promising youngsters Calum Gallagher and Charlie Telfer, who came on as substitutes in the second half, also augurs well for the future of Rangers.

Telfer, an 18-year-old playmaker, made his competitive debut at the weekend to become the first player from the Football in the Community scheme to break into the senior side.

McDowall said: "Obviously, we have to be fair to the lads who have done so well for us this season. But we have the opportunity to bring one or two of the young lads in.

"The second team have been doing really well too. Charlie Telfer is just one of them. Calum Gallagher is another. Ryan Sinnamon was on the bench.

"It is great for the lads who have been doing their bit in the second team that they have been getting their rewards.

"If they keep progressing the way they have been so far then they will be good Rangers players."

Do not bet against either Gallagher or Telfer following in the footsteps of their contemporaries Fraser Aird and Lewis Macleod in the seasons ahead.

Even if they do, it may not be enough to secure promotion back to the top flight from a division of full-time clubs.

Nobody at Rangers is under any illusions that difficult times lie ahead, both on and off the park. But as the weekend win underlined there are some reasons for optimism.

Football

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