MARK McGhee believes it is all but inevitable that Stuart McCall will be retained as Rangers manager beyond the end of this season, leaving Scotland to seek a replacement for him as coach.
For the first time since Gordon Strachan became Scotland manager just over two years ago, the international squad have gathered this week without McCall as part of the staff.
McCall has been excused duty for Wednesday night’s friendly against Northern Ireland and Sunday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Gibraltar to allow him to fully focus on his attempt to salvage Rangers’ hopes of promotion to the Premiership.
The 50-year-old’s initial deal at the Ibrox club runs only until the end of the current campaign. If Rangers do not extend it, McCall will return to the Scotland coaching set-up in time for June’s crucial Euro qualifier against Republic of Ireland in Dublin.
But Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee fully expects McCall to be a success at Rangers and believes his influence on the Championship side was evident in their 2-0 win over promotion rivals Hibs at Easter Road on Sunday.
“For Stuart’s sake we all hope, and I suspect, that he will become the permanent manager of Rangers and that he won’t be coming back to us at Scotland,” said McGhee.
“At that point, we will have to sit down and decide on someone else to fill his boots. I didn’t actually realise at first that Rangers have only appointed him until the end of the season.
“But I think the people at the club themselves are new to it in some ways and maybe they didn’t want to make big decisions yet.
“But I suspect that they will find they have a fantastic character in Stuart and will make him the permanent manager. I watched the game at Easter Road and I think I saw his personality transferred to the team. He is such an effervescent character that it can only be a positive for Rangers.
“Stuart did an important job for us with Scotland and it was one of his set-piece routines that brought about our winning goal against Ireland at Celtic Park in November.
“He took parts of training sessions which allowed Gordon and myself to stand back and look at things from a different perspective.
“So there will be extra work for me this week and with Stuart missing, I won’t be able to do some of the video analysis things I was free to do when he was here.
“We need another person to allow things like that, so we will have to replace him at some point.”
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