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Why is the SFA out to punish the victims? WALTER BACKING FOR GERS BOSS ALLY.

Byline: DAVID McCARTHY

THERE are times when Walter Smith must have regretted hauling Ally McCoist out of the television studio and into the madhouse that is Scottish football.

If he hadn't, McCoist wouldn't be going through the anguish he is suffering at the moment.

Smith knows his protege went off on one the other day after the SFA slapped Rangers with a year-long transfer embargo that all but cripples the club unless an appeal is successful.

And although McCoist, right, has been criticised for demanding to know the names of three-man panel that exacted such tough justice on Rangers, the man he took over from believes his successor was right to complain so long and so loud.

The current manager yesterday released a statement which said: "Rangers Football Club was a victim of what happened during the tenure of Craig Whyte.

"The Club was not an accomplice, a co-conspirator nor a perpetrator of wrongdoing. We suffered from it and still are."

Smith agrees with all of that and launched a stout defence of McCoist's actions over the last few days before turning his sights on the ruling body's failure to recognise that Whyte and not Rangers were responsible for the firestorm that has engulfed the club.

He said: "People have to remember Ally has been a supporter, he has been a player and he now he has moved into a new career in management. He has seen this dismantle in front of him and he has had to handle it, which he has done brilliantly because there ha s been nobody there to help him.

"People also have to remember that Ally gave up an awful lot to come into football management. "He wanted to go into football management and in his first opportunity he finds himself in this so there is an obvious frustration.

"I think he was quite right to come out and express his disappointment in the manner he did."

Irrespective of where Rangers play next term, Smith knows most of the current squad will be thinking of moving on.

He said: "The problem is it is down to the individual player. "The players have a situation where their agents negotiated reduced fees and if those fees are matched they can leave.

"I would imagine those fees would be attractive to English clubs, and the players would have the option to leave.

"So unless Rangers' circumstances are different and they have a new owner and a clarity brought to the situation, then who could blame a player for saying 'I'm going to go'.

"You have to face the fact that they could lose up to 75 per cent of the experienced playing staff and have no ability to bring anybody in except youth players to compete in the SPL."

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OUT FIGHTINGWalter Smith has backed Ally McCoist in row with the SFA sCOME
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 27, 2012
Words:477
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