Stuart McCall focus on promotion – not keeping job

STUART McCall insists Rangers are well within their rights to look at other options as they weigh up a decision on who to appoint as their long-term boss.

Rangers manager Stuart McCall organises training at Murray Park. Picture: SNS
Rangers manager Stuart McCall organises training at Murray Park. Picture: SNS

The former Ibrox midfielder was named interim manager at the beginning of March and charged with rescuing the club’s promotion bid.

But it was reported this week that Rangers had sounded out MK Dons manager Karl Robinson about the prospect of leading the side next season.

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A source close to the highly-rated 34-year-old was quoted claiming Rangers were the “right club” at the “wrong time”.

Rangers manager Stuart McCall organises training at Murray Park. Picture: SNS

But McCall has not given up hope of landing the job on a permanent basis himself. His hopes could hang on whether he can finish off Queen of the South tomorrow following last weekend’s 2-1 Scottish Championship play-off quarter-final first-leg victory.

The former Motherwell manager is even prepared to sit down and be quizzed by would-be chairman Dave King and his associates Paul Murray and John Gilligan if they need to be persuaded over his talents.

McCall said: “Would it bother me if the club were speaking to other people? Not at all. When I first came into the job I knew what was being asked of me. It gave me the opportunity to come in.

“But I was always aware of what the gig was. It’s rightly so that the club will be speaking to other people. Even just for the experience of it and to hear from them on which route they would take.

“You have to bear in mind that our board are new to it and I imagine they will be taking advice.

“Dick Advocaat was up the other day and came to speak to me in my office. I don’t know if he was measuring up the curtains and the carpets but it was nice to see him. We had a good chat.

“I would imagine I would have to go for a formal interview. I don’t think there is any doubt about that but I’m fully comfortable with it.”

McCall’s first task after returning to the club was to stabilise a team that had stumbled from one humiliation to another under caretaker manager Kenny McDowall.

He has done that after a couple of hiccups and will now hope to set up a play-off semi-final with Hibernian by sweeping the Doonhamers aside at a packed-out Ibrox this weekend.

But even after taking a significant step back towards the top flight with last week’s Palmerston win, he still does not believe he has done enough to be marked down as the frontrunner for the job.

“Am I the favourite? Not at all,” he said. “The club have got a big decision to make in the coming weeks and months. Everyone knows how much I’m enjoying this job. Whoever gets it in the summer, whether that’s me or someone else, will find it is a great job to have. There will be a lot of new players coming into the club so it will be an exciting time to be the Rangers manager.”

But McCall was also not entirely convinced that the stories suggesting Robinson was his main rival originated from within the Ibrox corridors.

He said: “It would be interesting to hear where those reports came from. It’s funny. Karl has done a terrific job but, two years ago when I was offered the Sheffield United job, apparently there were reports then that Karl had been linked with it too. Just like when Nicky Law had ten clubs from the English Championship chasing him the other week, coaches and managers can have good agents as well.

“I’m more than happy with what’s going on behind the scenes. I’m being kept up to speed, so it wouldn’t affect me in the slightest who is being rumoured for it, who has knocked it back. My full focus is on getting promotion.”

Rangers were beaten on both of their regular-season trips to Dumfries this term but avoided a third loss when Dean Shiels’ late winner handed them a vital advantage ahead of the Glasgow return.

McCall knows James Fowler’s side will come gunning for them at Ibrox but said: “As much as Queens will wind it up and make out that the first goal is all-important, if we lose one it’s not as if the tie is over.

“With the quality we have and if we defend soundly I will be confident we’ll create opportunities, regardless of whether we lose the first goal or not.”