After stressing he only expected to step into the breach for one match, it is now becoming increasingly likely that Graeme Murty will take charge of Rangers against Dundee at Dens Park on Sunday.
The Ibrox under-20s coach found himself ushered into the role of caretaker manager for last Sunday’s Scottish Cup win over Morton following Mark Waburton’s hasty exit on Friday evening.
Warburton, his assistant David Weir and head of recruitment Frank McParland left their roles in contentious manner after Rangers claimed they had offered to resign earlier in the week.
All three deny having done so.
But what is certain is that they are no longer at Ibrox and Rangers are continuing to take their time to consider candidates. Murty is taking training this week and, according to an Ibrox source yesterday, is now “almost certain” to be in charge at Dens this weekend.
Stewart Robertson, the Ibrox managing director, yesterday confirmed the club are considering implementing a new coaching structure headed by a director of football, the plan before Warburton’s appointment in June 2015.
Robertson also implied the club had compiled a database of potential managerial candidates before Warburton’s exit last week.
The club’s desire to install a director of football could impact on the willingness of some managerial candidates to consider coming on board.
Warburton was reluctant to operate under a director of football and so the plan was shelved. Robertson described being “inundated” with applications for the manager’s post already.
Derek McInnes yesterday played down reports linking him with the vacancy. Speaking on the eve of Aberdeen’s home league match with Motherwell, the Pittodrie manager stressed that he was “fully focused” on the task in hand.
“Rangers are a strong club with a lot of tradition and there will always be people interested in that – but my concern is on Aberdeen,” McInnes said.
Rangers directors have yet to draw up a short list, although Pako Ayestaran is another name to be linked with the club. A former assistant to Rafa Benitez at Liverpool and ex-Valencia manager, Ayestaran, 54, was reported to be interested in coming to Scotland.
Robertson mentioned no names but claimed the search for a new manager was already well under way. It’s understood Alex McLeish, a candidate for both manager and director of football roles, has not yet been contacted.
“We are continually looking at potential managers for the club,” said Robertson. “At a club of this size, it would be foolish to not be looking at your succession planning as you would in any other business for your key positions.
“We already have a database of potential names that we are aware of and who we have done some diligence on already.
“We’ve been inundated with lots of people already sending us applications for the position. We are sifting through those applications and then we will draw up a shortlist and look to interview.
“It is important to say that we are also looking at a director of football role and that will be a key appointment for the structure of the club,” he added.
“We have a very clear plan for how we are going to take this football club forward.
“It needs to be a modern football club, we are sitting here in the trophy room and we want to bring back the days where we are adding to the collection of trophies that we have here.
“From a supporters’ perspective, they can take some comfort from the fact that there is a plan in place and that there could be the odd time that you have to take a step back in order to achieve your plan. But we have very clear goals for where we want this football club to get back to.”
McInnes, meanwhile, was reluctant to be drawn into talk about the Rangers vacancy as he prepared his Aberdeen side for the match with Motherwell at Pittodrie.
“I’ve never been one to talk about speculation and rumour and gossip and I don’t see why another club’s speculation affects what I am doing,” said McInnes, who had a spell as a player with Rangers.
“This is a press conference about the Motherwell game tomorrow. I am fully focused on my job here. My only concern is about focusing on Aberdeen.”