Ally McCoist has told Dave King to give Steven Gerrard the cash needed to close the gap on Celtic if he really believes they are so close to becoming Scotland’s dominant force again.

But former Old Firm rival Frank McAvennie has dismissed King’s claims – and insisted the Hoops will be unstoppable on their march to 10-in-a-row.

Gers’ South Africa-based supremo King penned an online letter to fans as he announced a five per cent rise in Ibrox season ticket prices for next season.

He claimed the Light Blues are now “within tangible reach of Rangers becoming the dominant force in Scottish football again” despite another trophyless season.

Rangers trail Celtic by 11 points in the Premiership with five games left, with the Hoops just 90 minutes away from an astonishing treble treble.

McCoist played during a golden era for the club and was assistant when they last won the league in 2011 but he was then at the helm during the darkest days of their financial collapse.

And with their lengthy wait for major silverware, eyebrows were raised at King’s comments with McCoist insisting they are three or four quality summer signings away from challenging.

The 56-year-old said: “It depends how you define ‘tangible reach’ but I would certainly see the dominant force as being the No.1 team in the country.

“And in all honesty Rangers are a good bit off becoming the dominant force in Scottish
football but I hope it happens sooner rather than later.

“I would guess Steven Gerrard and Gary McAllister, who are very clever men, would know they’re not as close as Dave maybe has suggested.

“I don’t think Gerrard will be upset at all at the statement. If I was him I would be agreeing with him and saying, ‘that’s good, now let’s go and make sure it happens’ but he needs backing and I genuinely think he will be backed.

“You would have to get Dave to clarify the statement in terms of what he means and how close they are to becoming the dominant force.

“But I still think there’s a good bit to go before Rangers can be anywhere near
considered the dominant force in Scottish football.

“I understand it’s season ticket renewal time so I get all that but I reckon they need three or four players and I don’t know if they’ll take money for Alfredo Morelos or James Tavernier. However, it’s all very well getting that money but you need to replace them because they’re two of the better players.

“And then the loan deals are up for Ryan Kent and Joe Worrall and your only chance of getting Kent back – and it would be great if they could do it – is
probably on another loan.

“Okay, you’ve got Jordan Jones coming and I watched him for Northern Ireland recently and he did well.

“They can stop 10-in-a-row but a lot of things have to happen. It’s a massive summer for both clubs in terms of transfer activity.

“For Rangers to compete consistently with Celtic at the top of the league they need three or four players.

“I know they won the Old Firm game at Ibrox and
probably should have taken something out of the recent one at Parkhead.

“But Celtic look to me as if they’ve still got better players so how do you compensate that? You need to get better players.”

 

McCoist was joined by former Hoops star McAvennie and current Celtic boss Neil Lennon in Glasgow yesterday to present a £300,000 cheque on behalf of The Emmie Smillie Foundation to six other Scottish charities.

And of King’s statement McAvennie said: “The Rangers owners have got to say that – because they’ve got to sell season tickets for next season.

“But the reality is they are not even close to Celtic. Dave King and Steven Gerrard are going to say there’s not a massive gap – but there is a massive gap.

“It’s there in terms of finances and ability. The only reason the likes of Rangers or Aberdeen have even got close in games is when Celtic haven’t played well. The treble treble now looks like a forgone conclusion. They should beat Hearts in the
Scottish Cup Final and I can’t see them being stopped any time in the future.

“They can’t keep winning trebles but the idea of going through a season without a trophy in the near future is unthinkable. They are so far ahead just now.

 

“There is going to be a changing of the guard in terms of the squad in the summer and Celtic will bring in four or five new players. They might not spent £10m or £15m on a player but they will find a few gems. Odsonne Edouard has been a snip at £8m and that’s the kind of quality Lenny – or whoever is in charge – will be looking for.

“They’ll be harder to catch. A quadruple treble would be great but we all know what the fans want – 10 in a row. That will be unique in
Scotland and fans will want Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond to give the new boss the funds to get there.”