Gavin Rae: Paul Le Guen ‘used me’ at end of Rangers reign

Rangers midfielder Gavin Rae battles for the ball with Celtic's Neil Lennon during the Old Firm clash at Parkhead in April 2006. Picture: SNS Group
Rangers midfielder Gavin Rae battles for the ball with Celtic's Neil Lennon during the Old Firm clash at Parkhead in April 2006. Picture: SNS Group
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Paul Le Guen’s ill-fated 31-game tenure at Ibrox was as baffling as it was frustrating to the Rangers supporters and ten years on it still leaves a sour taste in the mouth for Gavin Rae.

The midfielder, whose three and a half years at Ibrox were decimated by a knee injury, was used as a patsy by the Frenchman in what proved to be the final days of his reign when Le Guen very publicly fell out with Barry Ferguson.

He stripped Ferguson of the captaincy and dropped him for what would prove to be his final match at Motherwell on 2 January, 2007.

Le Guen made Rae his new skipper but the ex-Dundee star had no idea at the time that he was a mere pawn in a process which quickly collapsed as Le Guen was gone just a couple of days later. Rae said: “It got a bit acrimonious at the end when he stripped Barry of the captaincy and dropped him and I ended up caught in the middle. I was a lamb to the slaughter, basically.

“We had got on well – although I get on with most people – and I think he respected the way I dedicated myself to my profession.

“However, I wasn’t playing that much so to make me captain was strange. And then when he did leave, he never spoke to me and that was the biggest disappointment.

“He put me in the spotlight and then left me there which was not exactly brilliant.

“I don’t think anyone expected me to be captain and when he left without saying a word, I realised I had just been used.”

Like many, the midfielder felt the appointment of Le Guen in the summer of 2006 was a fantastic piece of business given his achievements with Lyon in France but it 
simply did not work. Rae, who has been in Australia for two years and was appointed 
manager of Hakoah Sydney City FC last October, said: “It was very strange the way it turned out because he was such a sought-after coach.

“We all thought ‘Wow’. This guy had won Ligue 1 three years in a row with Lyon and we managed to get him at Rangers. But it really didn’t work at all. It was strange the way it all imploded.”