We had no idea if the club would even exist...it was horrendous

KENNY McDOWALL watched Ally McCoist pour his heart and soul into keeping Rangers alive towards the end of last season and throughout the summer.

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Kenny McDowall reflected on a terrible summer for Rangers
Kenny McDowall reflected on a terrible summer for Rangers

As assistant to the Rangers manager, McDowall spent almost all day, every day in communication with McCoist as he attempted to help him deal with the burden of trying to save the Ibrox on his own as the club lurched from one crisis to another.

Each day brought a new set of problems and they weren't the problems the pair were trained to deal with, such as footballing issues. It was McCoist who had to pick up the batten, but McDowall and first-team coach Ian Durrant were never far away with their support.

It has, of course, brought the three of them even closer together and McDowall has nothing but praise for the way his good friend dealt with a truly unique situation.

"The summer was horrendous for me," reflected McDowall. "Just watching everything unfold and seeing the turmoil Ally and the club had to go through.

"We didn't know whether the club would exist. We didn't know if we'd be here, didn't know when the season would start – all those things are usually a given.

"As a coach, you organise your year in advance. Normally you know your start date, your pre-season tour - but we had none of that.

"We didn't know if we'd have a team, which players would be back at Murray Park. We didn't know if we'd be hit with a transfer embargo. It was a horrible time.

"There were so many low points. You'd think we were low then something else would hit you. We just kept getting hit. The whole thing was an absolute disaster.

"It took a while to accept what has happened.We thought they wouldn't vote us out the SPL, we were told it would never happen – but it did.

"We were told we'd be in the First Division, then we found it was going to be the Third. It was just a catalogue of things.

"It never crossed my mind to leave. It felt as if everything was falling in around the place. But we decided it would be wrong to jump from a sinking ship.

"Never once did we have a conversation that was 'let's get out of here'. We've got enough contacts in the game to be able to do it.

"But, no, listen, this is still one of the biggest clubs in the world so why would you want to leave it?

"We're great believers that we'll get back to where we should be.

"We're not naive, we know it will take the right people to come in which we've got now. And it will take investment."

He went on: "I tried to support Ally as much as I could. I don't know any manager who has gone through that in their first job.

"He was the man doing everything at Rangers. We didn't have a board and he was making decisions himself. It wasn't easy on him, I know that. Believe me, though, he'll be a great manager because of it."

McDowall knows McCoist's efforts since Rangers initially entered administration before reforming as a newco will count for nothing if results on the park aren't what is expected of them, but he believes most fans are now more understanding of the difficulties they face in reaching the top again. He said: "We got beaten by Stirling and we know there were people shouting for our heads.

"But a lot of people forget that we lost a whole team. This isn't the Rangers team that won titles.

"We had to start from scratch with youth players and those we brought in. It isn't easy to put a team together.

"It takes time for new boys to get to know each other. That's not an excuse, it's just reality. People can call it what they like, but we are big enough to take it.

"Of course we didn't enjoy getting beaten by Stirling. No-one did. But it can happen. We just have to make sure it doesn't happen too often. That's the message we try and get over to the new boys.

"It took them time to find their feet, but they're getting there. They have worked hard and will need to keep doing that."

In years gone by, disappointing results would earn players a mouthful from the coaching staff but McDowall added: "You have to remember this is a team of kids with players still getting used to playing for Rangers so you have to handle them differently.

"But we have made good progress and are now picking up results."

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