ALLY McCoist has revealed for the first time the toll taken on him by being the Rangers figurehead during their off-field troubles.

McCoist very quickly became the central figure at the Ibrox club when they were plunged into administration two years ago this week.

Then owner Craig Whyte disappeared off the scene just after it emerged he had not paid around £15million in taxes in his short tenure.

It fell to the manager to liaise with administrators, brief players, speak to prospective buyers and keep worried fans informed.

If all that was not enough, he still had to take training at Murray Park and direct the team on a Saturday.

Not surprisingly, those demands left him mentally and physically drained, and left those closest to him concerned for his wellbeing.

McCoist looked back on the turbulent times in typically irreverant fashion this week, laughing: "I don't think I'll be an Oil of Ulay poster boy in the foreseeable future!

"I don't think there is any product out there that will get back the last couple of years."

He can joke now because he sees progress on and off the pitch, but they were dark days when they were fighting to stop Rangers going into liquidation.

McCoist said: "There were times you were exhausted and you felt like you were battering your head off a brick wall.

"We had meetings late into the night with administrators and first thing in the morning.

"I was in here when the players were agreeing whether or not to take the pay cut and that was maybe the latest night for everybody.

"That was bizarre, actually … surreal. Adminstrators discussing with players percentages, drops in contracts.

"I look back and it is difficult to imagine that actually happened, but it did. There was a million things.

"The administrators wanted me to go to talk with Brian Kennedy. I was speaking to Bill Miller and two or three others."

McCoist added: "I remember my mother looking at me a couple of times to try and see where her son was.

"Once or twice she got a hold of the club doc at the games and made sure he took my blood pressure and things like that, like any ma' would do.

"I think my family knew how important it was to myself and the rest of staff and indeed the supporters.

"But I had good people around me.

"Sandy Jardine was immense, absolutely immense, throughout the whole thing and particularly in the early stages of administration.

"I have been lucky in having good family and great friends and the reality check that some things are a little bit more important some times.

"The support we have all received from the fans has been unbelievable, to tell you the truth, to keep everyone going.

"It clearly means so much to so many people that you do your best, you really do: you do not want to let those people down."

Rangers supporters do not agree on much, but they would to a man concur that McCoist represented the club with distinction at that time. He hopes he won't have to take such a role again.

The Light Blues still face financial problems - scandalously given how much cash has been ploughed into the debt-free club - and cutbacks are inevitable. But with Rangers going the right way and ex-Manchester City chief operating officer Graham Wallace in charge, the club legend is optimistic.

He said: "Progress has definitely been made. We can all argue about what degree of progress, but it's been made.

"As a coaching and management staff, we are reasonably happy about where we are with the team at the moment.

"The boys won the league last year by 24 points. We can discuss some of the performances, but the fact is we won the league by 24 points.

"We strengthened during the summer with free transfers.

"And we are sitting in a very good and comfortable position at this moment in the league. These are facts that are not up for debate.

"Graham has categorically told me that administration is not a possibility.

"That's good enough for me. I'd fully expect, given the relationship I have with him, if the goalposts had moved in that, he'd have told me.

"We are fairly happy with where we are at this moment but we are under no illusion as to the task ahead.

"There is a long, long way to go to get us back into the top league."