Craig Levein has sympathy for Rangers boss Ally McCoist

By John BarnesBBC Scotland

Scotland manager Craig Levein has offered words of support for Rangers counterpart Ally McCoist and his situation at the troubled club.

Speaking at the launch of voting for PFA Scotland's manager of the year, he said: "I've enormous sympathy for him and his backroom staff.

"Any job he does after this one will seem simple in comparison. Managing Rangers is an extremely difficult job.

"The demands and the pressures on the manager are enormous."

In his first year as a manager, McCoist's role at Ibrox has extended beyond delivering success on the pitch.

With administrators running the club and owner Craig Whyte currently out the immediate picture, the former Rangers goalscorer and assistant manager has become the club's figurehead.

McCoist has been heavily involved in discussions with Duff & Phelps and on Wednesday the firm revealed that he would be present in their meetings with prospective buyers as they seek an accelerated sale of the business.

"For Alistair to take over after Walter Smith and the job he did it was always going to be difficult," Levein added.

"Luckily enough, I've not been in a position like that as a player or a manager.

"My heart goes out to everybody at Rangers for what they are suffering just now.

"It's an extremely difficult situation for any manager, never mind someone who is in his first job and a job the size of Rangers."

As PFA Scotland launched its vote for Scotland's top manager - with those in charge of the country's 42 senior clubs plus the national team manager allowed a say - Levein admitted it may be hard to look beyond Neil Lennon for his success at Celtic.

But he also confirmed he was impressed by Stuart McCall at Motherwell, Peter Houston's efforts at Dundee United, Derek Adams at Ross County, and Steven Pressley's reign at Falkirk.

Asked what he thought should be the credentials for choosing the winner, he said: "Punching above your weight, for me, is the main thing.

"If you can take a club that are expected to be at a certain level and you manage to do better, then I think you have proved your worth as a manager.

"That would be the main criteria."