Ally McCoist thinks Rangers can pass tough Scottish title test

McCoist was unable to replace Nikica Jelavic before the transfer window closed
McCoist was unable to replace Nikica Jelavic before the transfer window closed

Rangers manager Ally McCoist admits it will be difficult to retain the title but thinks his side can still overcome a Celtic squad with more depth.

McCoist's side are a point behind the Scottish Premier League leaders, who also have a game in hand.

"It's going to difficult when you look at our squad in terms of numbers compared to Celtic's for example.

"We don't have the numbers they do, but at the same time I believe we have the quality," said McCoist.

Rangers sold top scorer Nikica Jelavic to Everton on transfer deadline day and failed to replace the Croatia striker.

In all, the Ibrox club, who squandered a 15-point lead, made one January signing - former GAIS winger Mervan Celik - to Celtic's three.

"I'm lucky enough to be manager of this football club and I believe we can win the championship again," McCoist told his club website.

"I wouldn't and shouldn't be in this position if I didn't believe that.

"It's going to be a testing and tough time ahead. But, of course, I believe we can do it and we have the boys that can get the goals required."

Jelavic's departure leaves Northern Ireland internationals Kyle Lafferty and David Healy as the only senior strikers in McCoist's first-team squad.

"Nikica was a big player for us, a massive player for us, with 17 goals already this season," said the manager.

"He'll be missed, without doubt, but we've got options in attack.

"Mervan Celik falls into that category and David Healy has been scoring recently.

"Kyle Lafferty is hopefully only two or three weeks away from returning.

"So we have one or two that can come in. We will not be short of options."

Rangers scored four times in a weekend win over Hibernian achieved without the injured Jelavic.

"We've got a good squad of players with a lot of talent and boys that can certainly get goals," added McCoist.

"We've lost our main striker in Nikica, but it's an opportunity for one or two lads to come in and take his place.

"We still feel we need a little bit more from the midfield area and boys like Davis, Edu and Aluko, to name just a few, can get goals, there is no doubt about that.

"It's great if you have a striker that can get you 30 a season, but it's equally important to get goals from other areas."

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