There can surely be no other league in the world where the manager of a team sitting 17 points clear at the top and destined to win the title before Easter is forced to come out in the press and admit that his job, as well as the future of all his players, is on the line.
But that’s exactly what happened this week after Saturday’s humiliating 2-1 home defeat by Annan Athletic cast more shadows over Ally McCoist’s managerial record at Ibrox which is, frankly, miserable.
His first season in charge began with a Champions League exit to Malmo followed by a Europa League defeat at the first hurdle to NK Maribor and ended trophyless after a League Cup defeat at First Division Falkirk, a Scottish Cup exit to Dundee United and a fruitless SPL campaign blighted by points deductions and administration.
This season he has seen his team lose in all three cup competitions (to Queen of the South, Inverness and Dundee United) despite a huge wage bill and players who were plying their trade successfully in the SPL last season.
Coupled with league defeats to Stirling and Annan, and draws with Peterhead, Berwick, Annan, Stirling, Elgin, Montrose and Brechin, the vultures are circling over McCoist after Chief Executive Charles Green described the current Rangers team as the worst in the club’s history.
McCoist’s signings have been poor to say the least. Mervan Celik, Alejandro Bedoya and Juan Ortiz blighted his first season in charge and overshadowed the rather better acquisitions of Carlos Bocanegra, Dorin Goian and Sone Aluko. This year’s additions of Fran Stella (who has made just one substitute appearance that lasted for 11 minutes), Emilson Cribari, Sebastien Faure, Anestis Argyriou, Kevin Kyle, Ian Black and Fran Sandaza have also failed to have the effect that most expected.
So although on paper Saturday’s match at Elgin is fairly inconsequential, in reality it fits the bill as a must-win game for the Light Blues, and McCoist in particular.
It won’t be easy, though. On January 5th Elgin halted a run of eleven straight Rangers victories by holding the Gers to a 1-1 draw at Ibrox, and last week they ended their own poor run of five straight defeats with a brilliant win at promotion chasing Peterhead.
With that in mind, odds of 10/1 on a home win might be enough to tempt some punters to try their luck, while a price of 1/5 on a Rangers win seem rather mean.
The best bet, though, looks like being a draw, on offer at 9/2.
New customers who sign up with bwin qualify for a free £20 bet and using that to back a draw at Borough Briggs will return £110 if successful.