Ally McCoist praises Rangers for Scottish Third Division title
Manager McCoist praises players' efforts in taking the Scottish Third Division title
Rangers manager Ally McCoist has praised his players for overcoming "the most traumatic time in the club's history" to complete the first part of their long journey back to the top of Scottish soccer by clinching the Third Division title.
With a squad containing several experienced Scottish Premier League hands mixed with youth players, Rangers had been expected to win a division consisting solely of part-time teams at a canter, but have looked unconvincing at times. Despite a dull, goalless draw away at Montrose, Queen's Park's 1-0 defeat by Elgin City later in the day allowed Rangers to clinch the championship with five games remaining.
"It's a big congratulations to everybody involved, none more so than the players. It's a great achievement," McCoist said.
"When you look back over the journey we have been on in the past 18 months, it has been incredible in many ways. There were times when we weren't sure if we would have a team to play or if we would be allowed to play and we only got a licence 36 hours before the season started.
"In my opinion, it has been the most traumatic time in the club's history and it has been a bumpy ride.
"There have been times when it has been very tough, but it's very much a case of job done and we've taken the first step forward now. We've been the best side in the league. The fact we're sitting 22 points ahead would indicate we are thoroughly deserving champions. There's no doubt about that.
"The boys all deserve massive credit for that. The young lads deserve enormous credit, as do the older lads such as Neil Alexander, Lee Wallace and Lee McCulloch.
"It has been an incredibly difficult situation for people in many ways. Some people won't give them any congratulations, but that's certainly not the case from myself and the staff."
McCoist was manager when the then reigning Scottish Premier League champions Rangers entered administration in February last year over an unpaid tax bill. Liquidation followed in June to cap an amazing fall from grace for Scotland's most successful club, who have won a record 54 championships.
A consortium headed by former Sheffield United chief executive Charles Green bought the club's assets and after heated discussions their fellow SPL clubs voted 10 to 1 against Rangers' joining the league, forcing them to start at the bottom.