Alex McLeish opens up on being appointed Rangers boss in 2001
Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images

Alex McLeish opens up on being appointed Rangers boss in 2001

Former Rangers boss Alex McLeish has opened up on his appointment as Gers boss in 2001 and thinks that it it left people “quite surprised” to see him named as Dick Advocaat’s replacement.

McLeish took the reins after Advocaat moved upstairs to take up the role of director of football and McLeish thinks the expectation was the Gers would look outside of Scotland for their next manager.

(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

The move worked out well with McLeish lifting two titles on the final day of the season and romping to a third as he enjoyed a trophy-laden stint at Ibrox.

“I think a lot of people were quite surprised that I got the job,” McLeish said as quoted by FourFourTwo.

“It looked more likely that Rangers would employ a manager from England or abroad – that was their status.

“But I’d done good work with Motherwell and Hibernian as a young, upcoming boss and that earned me the Rangers job. I inherited wonderful players, such as Claudio Caniggia, Arthur Numan, Barry Ferguson, Lorenzo Amoruso, Ronald de Boer and many more.

“Dick Advocaat – who had moved upstairs to become the sporting director – and the owner, David Murray, put faith in me.

“In the first 18 months, we lifted five trophies, I’ll never forget the final day of the 2002-03 season, when we beat Celtic to the league on goal difference [by one]. We were constantly updated about their score at Kilmarnock, and it was such a dramatic day – amazing to experience.”

McLeish would spend almost five years at Ibrox, winning three titles, two Scottish Cups and three league cups as the Gers dominated the domestic game in Scotland.

Spells with Scotland (twice) Birmingham City, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Genk and Zamalek would follow but he would never come close to replicating the success he had at Ibrox.

While some will have been surprised at McLeish’s appointment, it seemed unlikely they would go for a ‘big’ name with Dick Advocaat still hanging around the club for a while to come after stepping down as manager.