Rangers turmoil will make McCoist a better manager, says assistant Kenny McDowall
RANGERS assistant boss Kenny McDowall believes the turmoil of the last 12 months will make Ally McCoist a better manager.
The Light Blues were forced to call in the administrators on February 14 last year, before liquidation was confirmed and life in the Irn-Bru Third Division beckoned.
Rangers currently sit 22 points clear in the title race but exits from all cup competitions - including a demoralising 3-0 defeat to Dundee United in the William Hill Scottish Cup - has resulted in criticism of both the manager and his players.
However, McDowall was keen to pay tribute to McCoist for the role he has played over the last year, insisting he has not been given the credit he deserves.
He said: "I think he's done an incredible job.
"It was always going to be hard for us taking over after Walter Smith and we were delighted to be part of the job Walter did.
"But for Alistair, taking it on as his first job, it's a big deal. It's a big club with a lot of responsibility.
"The demands to win stuff is always going to be there.
"We knew that but to face what he had to face, and to do it in the manner he did it, he's not had the credit for it.
"But we certainly appreciate what he's done because he ran the club himself single-handedly for many months.
"It will make him a much better manager in the future."
McDowall added: "We've gone from working with international players to lads who were playing in the youth team.
"We've still got some senior guys who we managed to get - Ian Black, Dean Shiels, Fran Sandaza.
"But it's difficult enough to come into a club this size, to carry the badge and settle into a place like this.
"For them to come in when you've been put into the Third Division, to be put in with a load of younger players, it was always going to be difficult for those guys.
"They've had a bit of criticism, unfairly I think, because they need time to settle as well.
"To be fair to the lot of them, the younger ones and the senior guys, they might not have done well in the cup competitions but we always knew that was going to be a tough hurdle to get over.
"They are 22 points clear and they are doing their work. Our aim has always been to win the championship and we are on course to do that."
On this day in 2012, administrators Duff and Phelps were appointed after HMRC lodged a petition over the non-payment of PAYE and VAT since Craig Whyte's 2011 takeover.
Reflecting on the last 12 months, McDowall said: "It's incredible that it's been a year.
"We have been jumping hurdles ever since and it's been a difficult year.
"Our support has kept us going - they have been fantastic.
"I think people expected them to tail off after a few months but, to their credit, they have been absolutely phenomenal.
"They have given us and the team the strength to carry on and keep going."
Rangers currently sit 22 points clear in the title race but exits from all cup competitions - including a demoralising 3-0 defeat to Dundee United in the William Hill Scottish Cup - has resulted in criticism of both manager Ally McCoist and his players.
The former Gers striker, though, is "content" with the way the season has panned out so far, while looking to return to the top flight and the European scene as quickly as possible.
McCoist told Sky Sports: "As a manager, I would probably say I would be content with where we are at the moment.
"Not overly-happy and certainly not delirious but not too downbeat.
"By that I mean the lads have done very well in the league.
"It would be a thoroughly deserved title, it's not there yet, there is still a lot of football to be played but obviously that is the target.
"It would be the first rung in the ladder.
"We would be delighted with it if it happens and hopefully it will, but we have a long way to go and we won't sit back until we are possibly back in the top flight where we want to be and indeed, the possibility of playing European football again."