Ally McCoist insists Rangers would be unable to cope with a year-long ban on signing players after claiming other managers are already "sniffing" about the administration-hit club's squad.
The Glasgow giants were hit with a £160,000 fine and 12-month embargo on registering players aged over 17 by the Scottish Football Association's judicial panel after being found guilty of five charges in relation to their finances and the appointment of Craig Whyte as chairman.
Administrators are appealing the SFA decision but McCoist fears the worst if the verdict stands, and told RangersTV: "We can't cope with it. We have lost players already this season. Individual players have clauses in their contracts which indicate they may leave for more suitable terms for themselves."
He added: "I would have to ask them the question: would they be happy with us not being able to bring in new players? They absolutely wouldn't.
"There are already managers sniffing about our players - I know of that. They are like vultures around our squad at the moment which angers and disappoints me. But that is the territory we are moving in at the moment. We are a seriously wounded animal.
"It's a double-edged sword. If we can't strengthen the squad then those within it currently may want to leave."
McCoist accused the SFA of not doing enough to help Rangers during one of the most turbulent periods in their history and urged them to follow the lead of English football authorities and their treatment of troubled club Portsmouth.
He said: "You don't know if the SFA will see sense. There was nobody prouder than me to represent my country. I was really fortunate to represent my country on a good number of occasions. But I just feel the governing body is just not doing nearly enough to help the club in the current situation.
"I am not looking for sympathy, I am looking for fairness. We are really, really struggling and we are not getting enough help.
"I look at Portsmouth and the English FA can't do enough for them to try to help them. Indeed, Portsmouth received money from the Football League at a suitable time to try and help - and that's the key. We are not getting enough help."