Stuart McCall has rejected five opportunities to return to the game since leaving Motherwell late last year. However, he admits the post of Rangers manager is still one potential candidates would find hard to turn down.
The current Scotland coach has long been linked with a return to Ibrox, particularly now he is perceived as being free to answer the call – should it come. McCall’s only present commitments are to Scotland, but he cautioned anyone against thinking the coaching role he was handed by manager Gordon Strachan would be easy to cast aside.
In light of on-going events at Ibrox, where Dave King edges ever nearer to taking control, McCall anticipated the line of questioning yesterday. Asked for his views on the continued dramas at his former club, he playfully wondered which of them was being referred to. Everton? Sheffield United possibly? Perhaps Bradford City?
McCall sought to step delicately across a situation complicated by there being a manager currently in place, and a board that has not quite been ousted. It is generally accepted that, whatever happens, Rangers are likely to be in the market for a new manager before long, given current incumbent Kenny McDowall’s “caretaker” status.
Whether or not McCall features in this new world remains to be seen. But he sounded like he would have to give serious consideration to the opportunity if it was offered, despite the current off-field uncertainty.
“It’s a job that most people with connections to the club, or who have it at heart, would find difficult to turn down – regardless of what troubles they might be in,” he admitted.
“I once went to Bradford from Sheffield United. They had just been relegated and people asked why? But – and I’m not talking about myself and Rangers here – if it’s something you want to do, it wouldn’t put anyone off.
“But it is a hypothetical question,” he added. “In the last two or three months I have had five opportunities to get back into the game, both north and south of the Border.
“From my point of view, there is a fine line between diving into something too early and being out of the game too long. I have looked at the opportunities and weighed them up. They have not really grabbed me, because being involved with Scotland, and working with Gordon, Mark [McGhee] and the national side, means a lot.
“90 per cent of the opportunities I get, I might have to relinquish that. So that will weigh on me whatever opportunity comes up.”
As far as McCall is concerned, you could not manage Rangers and work part-time with Scotland. That arrangement suited him at Motherwell, but Rangers, he proposed, are a different proposition, particularly when there is so much work to be done, both on the field and off it.
“I was lucky at Motherwell, and obviously Peter Houston at Dundee United did it too,” he said. “It certainly did not hinder me at Motherwell. I am 100 per cent about that. It helped me if anything. But I think with a club the size of Rangers I think that would be impossible, and likewise in England as well. I don’t think certain clubs would look favourably at that. But it is like with anything, you have to have be approached first,” he added. “And then you balance it up. And if it’s the case of going to an interview, you can get a sense of it. Obviously a couple of years ago I went down to Sheffield United and had an interview and got offered that, but I just felt that at that time things were not right.
“If we are talking about Rangers, I am sure they will have a lot of high-calibre, top-quality managers available and interested because it is such a huge job. “
Whatever else happens before Friday’s scheduled GM, McCall does not expect his former Rangers team-mate Ally McCoist to be back at the club. Some have prophesised that when and if the chains with the current board and Mike Ashley are cut, there might be a way back for McCoist, who is currently on gardening leave after tendering his resignation prior to December’s AGM.
“I can’t speak for Ally but I would doubt it,” he said. “But listen, stranger things have happened in football.”