Thursday, 9 November 2017

Who should be Rangers' new manager?

It’s safe to say the 2017-18 campaign hasn’t gone exactly according to plan for Rangers. The legendary Scottish side are currently sitting just fourth in the league table on 24 points through 12 games played. Despite having signed Pedro Caixinha to a three-year deal to manage the club back in March, Rangers dismissed their new manager after just 229 days on the job.

Caixinha was sacked after a discouraging 1-1 draw against 10th-place Kilmarnock, in late October, and he became the shortest-tenured manager in the decorated history of the club with his firing. Surrendering a 1-0 lead by coughing up a goal five minutes into second half stoppage time was the final straw for Caixinha with the club.

Graeme Murty, who had previously been serving as the head coach of Rangers’ development squad, was tabbed as Caixinha’s interim replacement. Murty also took control of the club late last season after the previous managers, David Weir and Mark Warburton, were sacked.

Rangers went 3-1-2 in his six-game stint last season, and they have won both games so far this season with Murty in charge.

While the 42-year-old is certainly a candidate to get the job on a full-time basis if he’s able to keep stringing results together, the team’s brass is still expected to sift through a number of managerial candidates before making a final decision. Who would be the best fit to turn Rangers’ season around? Derek McInnes may be the early favorite with top betting sites, but there are a number of names worthy of consideration.

Derek McInnes

At first glance, Derek McInnes makes plenty of sense as a man capable of steering Rangers in the right direction. The 46-year-old Aberdeen boss has already drawn plenty of praise, including some from former Rangers manager and current Netherlands coach Dick Advocaat. Advocaat, who coached McInnes while the latter played for Rangers in the late-1990s, said, “He did a great job at Aberdeen and he’s the right age.” McInnes currently has Aberdeen at second in the SPL on 27 points, just behind first-place Celtic (30).

McInnes is young, but he has quite a bit of coaching experience already. He also knows what it takes to win in Scotland. McInnes was in charge of St. Johnstone from 2007 into 2011, where he posted a record of 71-53-53. He helped get that club promoted into the Scottish Premier League in 2009 following a seven-year absence. He was a candidate for a number of jobs in England, but opted to stay in Scotland until 2011, when he was appointed the manager of Bristol City.

Bristol were near the bottom of the Football League Championship when McInnes took over in October of 2011, but an eight-game unbeaten run toward the end of the season secured the club’s status in the league that season. However, he was sacked in January of 2013 before taking the Aberdeen job two months later.

Through 218 matches with his current club, McInnes has posted a record of 127-36-55. Under McInnes’ watch, Aberdeen have made three consecutive appearances in the Europa League, and they appeared in the finals of both the League Cup and the Scottish Cup last season. Aberdeen also won the League Cup in McInnes’ first full season at the helm.

Given his previous links to Rangers and his success rate early in his managerial career, McInnes makes all the sense in the world to be the next man up at the struggling club.

Tommy Wright

While McInnes may be the clear favorite for the Rangers gig, let’s not overlook Tommy Wright, who is currently in charge at McInnes’ former club, St. Johnstone. Wright, who is also reportedly a favorite to land the vacant Dundee United job, has been managing since 2003 after his playing career came to a close in 2001.

Wright has been on the job with St. Johnstone since 2013 after successful stints in charge of Limavady United, Ballymena United and Lisburn Distillery. In 200 matches with his current club, Wright has posted a record of 86-40-74. He led Lisburn Distillery to an Irish League Cup crown in 2010-11, and he won the Scottish Cup with St. Johnstone in the 2013-14 campaign. His side toppled McInnes’ Abdereen club in the final of the latter.

Dundee United have been interested in Wright’s services for quite some time. Dundee approached St. Johnstone for the rights to discuss a deal with Wright back in October of 2015, but they were rebuffed. He instead inked a new deal to remain with St. Johnstone, with whom he was named Premiership Manager of the Season in 2015-16. The team has qualified for the Europa League in four of his five seasons in charge.

Wright (53) is a bit older than McInnes, but he has plenty of skins on the wall and seems primed to take a more prominent job at some point in the near future. Whether that will be with Rangers remains to be seen, but Wright is certainly due for a promotion of some sort before too long.

Alex McLeish

This is a familiar name, no? Alex McLeish has been bouncing around the managerial ranks in Europe for the better part of the last two decades. The Glasgow native got his start coaching Motherwall in 1994, and he’s since made eight stops at various clubs all over Europe, most of which have come in the United Kingdom.

The 59-year-old has a career managerial record of 383-213-231. That includes a 235-game stint in charge of Rangers from 2001 through 2006. He posted a stellar record of 155-44-36 with the club during an incredibly prolific stretch. Rangers made three appearances in the UEFA Champions League with McLeish on the touch line in addition to a pair of Scottish Premier League titles.

Rangers also won three League Cups and two Scottish Cups with McLeish at the helm. The club’s winning percentage of 65.96 with McLeish in charge is the fourth-best mark in the history of the club among those that managed for at least three seasons. He hasn’t found as much success since then, and he was most recently seen coaching Zamalek of the Egyptian Premier League. He went 6-2-2 with Zamalek before getting canned in May of 2016.

Do Rangers really want a 59-year-old retread? While McLeish’s tenure with Rangers was certainly stellar, it’s probably best for the club to go with a younger candidate with a brighter future. Hiring McLeish would feel like a band-aid rather than a real cure-all for what currently ails the side.

Michael O’Neill

Upon Caixinha’s firing, one of the first names to pop up as a potential replacement was Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill. With Gers languishing in fourth place in the league, a fresh face like O’Neill would make plenty of sense as a replacement. Despite currently coaching Northern Ireland, O’Neill calls Edinburgh home. He has been linked with a number of Scottish jobs in the past.

Despite the rumors, O’Neill has been adamant that he doesn’t really have much interest in taking over at Rangers. He’s focused on the task at hand, which is helping Northern Ireland qualify for next summer’s World Cup. When asked about his interest in Rangers by Sky SportsNews, O’Neill said, “It’s not a distraction for me at all. It’s (speculation) constantly been there but it’s not something that I pay much attention to. My attention is here (Northern Ireland) and trying to get my country to a World Cup Finals...It’s always nice to be linked with jobs but it’s not something I have given much thought to at all.”

To be fair, O’Neill certainly has plenty on his plate already. Northern Ireland are set to play the first leg of a World Cup playoff against Switzerland on Thursday, 9 November. If they manage to get through both legs against the Swiss, Northern Ireland will qualify for their first World Cup since 1986.

O’Neill’s coaching record is fairly hit-or-miss but the job he’s done with Northern Ireland can’t be ignored. If he’s able to get them to a World Cup finals, his status as a hot commodity in the managerial ranks will only increase. He’s still only 48, and his work with Northern Ireland has to be impressive to any prospective club looking for a new manager.

Among the candidates listed, we’ll rank our preference for the new man to lead Rangers as follows:

  1. Derek McInnes
  2. Michael O’Neill
  3. Tommy Wright
  4. Alex McLeish


  1. We have the right man in place how can we not see that,each time he took over and the players played for him keep him for the rest of this season and then judge him,but the board will pick the next manager who may or may not cut it then what.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. My Choices for our New Manager would Be (In No Specific Order) -

    1. Graeme Murty
    2. Tommy Wright
    3. Slaven Billic
    4. Michael O'Neil

    But Come On The Rangers! ...WATP! ...#OnOurWayBack


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