In times of turmoil, the smallest things can become accentuated.
Craig Whyte's appearance at Ibrox on Wednesday night fuelled theories that the businessman is edging to within touching distance of completing his protracted takeover of Rangers.
For a definition of protracted, the mere fact Whyte attended the Europa League tie against PSV Eindhoven – thereby sitting in a crowd at Ibrox for the first time since he entered talks to buy out David Murray – was viewed with broad significance. If Whyte fully intends to take control of Rangers, a chequebook, rather than a corporate match ticket, provides proof of intention.
Speculation over the level of investment Whyte would offer to Rangers shouldn't have the club's embattled followers uncorking champagne bottles. Nonetheless, the separation of the football club from Murray's empire seems essential to any prospect of imminent growth.
Such an outcome would also impact directly on Ally McCoist. Rangers' manager-in-waiting was again faced with questions about the medium-term future when previewing Sunday's Co-operative Insurance Cup final against Celtic. Unless Whyte's, or any other, takeover comes to fruition, McCoist will become accustomed to business rather than football discussion.
"I don't know anything about him," says McCoist of Whyte. "I am a bit in the dark but I believe everybody is. From our point of view if it happens sooner rather than later, then great.
"If he is going to invest in the club that would be absolutely fantastic, that's the ideal situation. Investment would be great but we can't wait on that happening, we have just got to plan for it effectively not happening. We have to plan for the worst scenario, which is no investment.
"The worst-case scenario is along the lines of cutting the wage bill again [in the summer]. I couldn't give you figures on it because I don't know them. I haven't spoken to anybody who has spoken to the bank. It looks at the moment that will be the case which isn't ideal."
The latest timescale put on a potential Whyte deal is within a fortnight. Supposed deadlines have come and gone in the past without any public sign of movement, meaning McCoist and the football staff at Rangers won't be moved by the wider debate.
"It only causes uncertainty and a problem if you allow it to," McCoist explains. "From the fans' point of view, more than anything I think the uncertainty is something they will probably find difficult to deal with.
"From where we are standing at the moment, I am looking at it as no deal is happening at the moment because that's the way you have to look at it, that's the way you have to plan. Obviously I am hoping I am 100% wrong and there is a deal and the club can move forward with investment. That would be great but for me to sit here and rely on that I feel would be totally wrong. You are better thinking nothing."
Which does, of course, impact on McCoist's transfer strategy for this summer. "We will be doing everything we can to sign players of the highest quality because I firmly believe if we don't then we have got a real struggle," he insists. "If we don't attempt to sign players that should be playing here, players that the fans expect play here, if we start settling for second best then that's the first road to despair for us."
On matters of basic football, McCoist admits Rangers must improve on their recent Old Firm showings in order to retain the League Cup. A general theory is that the Rangers will also make some form of tactical alteration for the Hampden showpiece.
"There's certainly an argument for that," says McCoist of formation change. "What there's not an argument for is we need to put Celtic under more pressure and ask more questions of them. We have absolutely got to do that, we didn't do that at all in the last game. There's maybe one or two reasons, I think the personnel maybe limited us a little bit, put our hands behind our back slightly. That's not an excuse, it's maybe just a wee reason but I think we have to ask far more questions this Sunday and we will. I don't there is any doubt we will."
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