Rangers next manager: Six leading candidates to replace Giovanni van Bronckhorst

Rangers are in the market for a new manager following the decision to sack Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

The Dutchman lost his job after falling nine points behind Celtic in the title race having overseen a disastrous Champions League campaign which left his side with the worst-ever group-stage record in the competition's history.

It has been a rapid fall from grace for the 47-year-old former Rangers midfielder, who was riding a crest of a wave only three months ago after defeating PSV in a Champions League play-off, on the back of a euphoric run to the Europa League final last season.

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Last season ended with a Scottish Cup win but the current campaign started to unravel in early September with back-to-back 4-0 defeats to Celtic and Ajax. Further heavy losses to Napoli and Liverpool, including a 7-1 home hammering to Jurgen Klopp's side, caused embarrassment in Europe, and domestic form has been poor. Draws with Livingston and St Mirren, either side of a defeat at St Johnstone, have left Rangers with a mountain to climb in the Premiership title race.

Former Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is among the candidates to replace Giovanni van Bronckhorst. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

With supporters demanding change, the Rangers board have decided to act and now face the task of finding a replacement in time for the campaign restarting after the World Cup break with the visit of Hibs on December 15. Here are some of the potential frontrunners for the vacancy:

Steven Gerrard

The man who Van Bronckhorst replaced last November is currently out of work following his recent dismissal by Aston Villa. Enjoyed success during his time in charge at Ibrox - winning the 2020-21 title in style with an unbeaten league record in front of empty stadiums due to Covid restrictions - as well as earning some notable results in Europe. Was installed as a bookies favourite to return even before Van Bronckhorst was sacked, but surely both parties have now moved on, particularly given the negative reaction among Rangers fans towards Gerrard's departure.

Sean Dyche

The former Burnley boss has links to the current Ibrox hierarchy having worked alongside Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson during their time together at Watford. Guided the Clarets to two promotions to the Premier League in three seasons, either side of relegation, and led the club into Europe for the first time in 51 years. A big personality who prefers his team to have substance over style, he would certainly shake things up at Ibrox.

Ralph Hassenhuttl

Another out of work boss with links to Ross Wilson, the Austrian was sacked by Southampton earlier this month after a poor run of results left them in the relegation zone. Wilson was director of football at Southampton when Hasenhuttl was appointed four years ago, sparking talk of a possible reunion at Ibrox. Hasenhuttl's style is based on the high tempo Gegenpressing which has earned him the nickname of the ‘The Alpine Klopp’.

Kjetil Knutsen

The Bodo/Glimt boss has led the club to back-to-back Norwegian titles while also making his mark with notable results in Europe, including a 5-1 aggregate success over Ange Postecoglou's Celtic in the Conference League play-off last season. Also masterminded a 6-1 group-stage victory over Jose Mourinho's Roma with a pressing style that has been likened to the Jurgen Klopp approach. Was among the favourites for the Brighton vacancy earlier in the season, while Norwich City were also linked last year.

Michael Beale

The current QPR boss is now his own man after working under Gerrard at both Rangers and Aston Villa. Was credited in some quarters as the tactical mastermind behind Gerrard's success at Ibrox. Recently turned down an approach from Wolves to become their new manager. This commitment to his first job at Loftus Road would make a move back north of the border unlikely at this stage.

Kevin Muscat

Could Rangers emulate Celtic and turn to Australia for their next manager? Muscat already has ties to Ibrox having made 22 appearances for the club during the 2002-03 season in a short-lived stay. He has previously worked under Ange Postecoglou and replaced the current Parkhead boss at Yokohama F. Marinos last year, where he emulated his predecessor’s achievement by lifting the Japanese league title.

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