If certain media outlets, pals of pals down the pub, and trusted sources are to be believed, then it would appear that Rangers next manager will indeed be current Aberdeen boss and former nine in a row hero Derek McInnes. With odds slashed down to 1/6 and with some bookmakers no longer taking bets I think it’s only a matter of days, maybe even hours before we see the former St Johnstone and Bristol City gaffer paraded with a club scarf at Ibrox.
With no game this weekend due to International friendlies and World Cup qualifiers on the go, it would probably be the best time to make the announcement and get our 18th full-time manager (not including interim or same managers included twice) on board. The majority of Rangers fans have warmed to the impending appointment, probably more-so than when Graeme Murty last had the reigns following the departure of Mark Warburton, and the eventual arrival of the much liked, but ultimately unsuccessful Pedro Caixinha. But, such is life, not everyone agrees. There are a number of factors in this train of thought, from wanting someone with English Premier League experience like Sam Allardyce, David Moyes and/or Alan Pardew. Well, ‘Big Sam’ had a £2M buyout clause, Davie Moyes has since gone to West Ham, and in Pardew there was a lack of urgency from Rangers if he was indeed muted for the role. One thing’s for sure, they’d all have demanded a hefty salary with funny money compensation clauses if things didn’t go well.
Some bears were calling for former Rangers players like Giovanni Van Bronckhorst and Frank de Boer, but in truth they would appear also to be, a bit out of reach, with regards to wages, budgets, time scale in stopping Celtic’s 10IAR march, and in Gio’s case, he’s doing quite well where he is at the moment with Feyenoord in Holland. There was a Belgian chap (name escapes me and I’m no in the mood for a google) mentioned at the get-go, along with the usual candidates in Billy Davies, Alex McLeish, Barry Ferguson, Walter Smith….. etc, and a few odd choices as well in Gordon Strachan, Malky MacKay, Steve McClaren and even the return of one Ally McCoist to the dugout.
So, when you look at things in a larger context, and take into account that whoever comes in would more than likely have to work with what he’s got, and have a superior knowledge of both Rangers and Scottish football at this moment in time, then, for me anyway, McInnes would appear the logical choice. Now there will be compensation to pay Aberdeen, which some supporters cannot understand or handle, probably in the region of around £750,000. It could be the best money Rangers spend in the long and short term though.
If there’s one thing that is apparent, from the outside looking in, it’s that Derek seems to be a wonderful man manager who doesn’t suffer fools gladly and in turn has the utmost respect from all who’ve played either alongside or under him. Most recently he’s taken over a toothless club in Aberdeen and ultimately made them Scotland’s second force behind Celtic. Now know I base this solely on a statistical stance, with them finishing runners-up last term in the SPFL, League & Scottish Cups. We all know that on stature and success Aberdeen are fighting for third behind second place Celtic……
In the four and a half years as Dons gaffer, he has consistently rebuilt his team year after year and lifted the league cup in 2014 beating Inverness on penalties. Before that, he had an eventful stint down south at struggling Bristol City. The club were adrift at the bottom of the Football League Championship, but McInnes guided them to an eight-game unbeaten run that secured their league status. McInnes was sacked on 12 January 2013, after a 4–0 home defeat to Leicester City left the club eight points adrift of safety. After being sacked by Bristol City, McInnes said that he was “very desperate” to succeed and that his time at Bristol City was a difficult one, but educational.
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Before Bristol, McInnes was appointed manager of St Johnstone on 27 November 2007. In May 2009, McInnes secured promotion to the Scottish Premier League for St Johnstone, ending their seven-year stint in the First Division.
During the 2009–10 close season, McInnes was linked with the managerial positions at West Bromwich Albion and Watford. He remained at St Johnstone, however, and in October 2009 he signed a new contract with the Perth club. His managerial record with the Perth club was 177 games in charge, where he won 71 games, drew 53 games and lost 53 games. Not too shabby.
Before that McInnes enjoyed a successful playing career with Morton, Rangers, Stockport (loan), Toulouse, West Brom, Dundee Utd, Millwall and St Johnstone spanning 495 matches and 33 senior goals.
He knows our club, and he knows the country. Perhaps just as important, he knows the Scottish media. A media who have revelled in Rangers current plight and in their own way chastised and tried to belittle former Gers bosses on the way, stuff they’d have never gotten away with had Walter Smith or Graeme Souness been answering the questions. I think Derek would demand a respect in that capacity, with a cold Paisley stare all that’s required if he didn’t approve of the questioning. He was brought up a Rangers supporter and spent 5 seasons at Ibrox learning from the best, both on the field, and off it. Prior to his Ibrox move he learned from the wily old fox, Alan McGraw as well, but can call upon a host of former managers and players for advice if and when needed. But you get the impression he’s his own man in that respect.
As stated previously, he’ll more than likely have to utilise the players at his disposal with little or no funds to buy anyone come the January transfer window. Fans will be disappointed at that, with thoughts of a certain Kenny McLean following his manager from Pittodrie perhaps? He will, however, have an opportunity to welcome back loaners in the shape of Harry Forrester, Andy Halliday and Michael O’Halloran if he thought necessary, but this would probably be a pre-season afterthought.
He is tactically aware though and would address the problems at hand, most noticeably on the left-hand side. Ok, Windass has two in two, but I’ve only seen him take on a defender and cross the ball from the touchline once this term against Dundee at Ibrox, so don’t give me it! If Rangers had the same balance and understanding on the left as is on the right with Tavernier and Candeias, we’d be a different animal. I know there’s those of you who’ll think I’ve just used this as a way to have another pop at Josh, but I assure you, that’s not the case troops.
What is the case though, is that we are far too big a club to be sitting here without a full-time manager at the helm. If King and the board wanted Murty to see us out till the end of the season then they should have announced it by now so that any/all players going away with their countries can do so worry free. Regardless of the job Murty has done though, he’s not the answer for me….not yet at least. Again though, I would urge EVERY Rangers supporter to get right behind our new manager, whether it’s Derek, or an 11th hour stop the press appointment. We need to be up for the fight and challenges that lie ahead, and only together as one can we achieve our goals. Let’s welcome the appointment with open arms, the way Rangers fans should because at the end of the day, whoever is in charge against Hamilton, one thing is for sure…..
…..they’ll be better with 50,000 battle hardened Bears in their corner.