United, who currently sit bottom of the cinch Premiership and were humiliated 9-0 by Celtic on Sunday, decided to part company with Ross on Tuesday morning following discussions on Monday evening. Ross had vowed to battle on the wake of the drubbing by the reigning champions, which capped off a brutal run of form that had seen the club lose five games in a row across all competitions and ship 24 goals. However, the United hierarchy had other ideas and they are searching for their fifth manager in four years.
It is the second time in less than 12 months that Ross, who was appointed to much fanfare back in June by United. has been axed by a Premiership club, after the 46-year-old was sacked by Hibs in December last year.
Caretaker manager Liam Fox will take charge of the team in Wednesday’s Premier Sports Cup tie away at Livingston as the United board, led by sporting director Tony Asghar, draw up a shortlist of contenders for the vacancy.
While Fox is the early bookmakers’ favourite, former Dundee United striker Ferguson is understood to be open to discussions about the job. The ex-Scotland internationalist has not worked north of the border since leaving Rangers in 1994 but he is keen to take his first steps into full-time management after leaving Everton’s coaching staff, although the 50-year-old’s preference is to remain in England.
Another former United charge in O’Neill, meanwhile, is available after he was dismissed by Stoke City last week. The 53-year-old, who was courted by Scotland while in charge of Northern Ireland, was in charge of the Potters for three years and still has a base in Edinburgh. A creative midfielder, O’Neill spent four years at Tannadice between 1989 and 1993 and knows Scottish football well.
Both Ferguson and O’Neill feature prominently with the oddsmen, alongside current Ross County manager Malky Mackay and Kevin Thomson, who left Kelty Hearts earlier in the summer.