We look at the bookies’ favourites to replace Mark Warburton as Rangers manager and rate the probability of them taking over the Ibrox hotseat out of 10.
Alex McLeish (Odds - 4/6)
A European Cup Winners’ Cup victor with Aberdeen, where he also won every domestic honour as a player, McLeish needs no introduction to the Rangers fans having managed the team and also the Scotland national side. Between 2001 and 2006 he won two Scottish top-flight titles, two Scottish Cups and three League Cups. He also won the League Cup with Birmingham.
Dave King was said to be keen on the ex-Ibrox boss before he was convinced into hiring Mark Warburton instead. If he considers that to have been a mistake, he’ll see this as a chance to right that wrong. And having struggled in his previous four stops as manager (Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Genk and Zamalek) McLeish will see the role at Ibrox as the perfect opportunity to get his career back on track.
Likelihood - 9/10
Billy Davies (7/2)
Davies is a former Ibrox player and has been looking for a job back into management for some time, so would be an easy option for the Rangers board, even if it was just until the end of the season. Despite his Rangers past, he would not be a popular choice with the fans who are reticent to his hit-and-miss managerial history and spiky personality.
After nearly taking Preston into the Premier League, he did it with Derby in 2007 only to quit before Christmas with the club bottom of the table. He went on to have two spells at manager of the Rams’ East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest.
Likelihood - 5/10
Frank de Boer (6/1)
The former Ajax and Barcelona defender had a glittering career as a player, and he followed that up with some sustained success as a manager with Ajax at the beginning of this decade, winning four league titles. Sacked from his post at Inter last year, De Boer is currently out of work and, therefore, high up the list of candidates to make a return to the side he played for briefly in 2004.
However, De Boer’s agent has stated that it is unlikely his client will take over a role mid-season. And, with Rangers problems on and off the park, an offer is unlikely to tempt De Boer back to Glasgow since the Dutchman will still view himself as one of Europe’s premier coaches, despite his exit from the Giuseppe Meazza.
Likelihood - 3/10
Derek McInnes (7/1)
The Aberdeen boss is a former Rangers player and won the Scottish Cup with the club in 1999. As a manager he won the First Division title with St Johnstone and the League Cup with the Dons two seasons ago. His Aberdeen teams have preferred possession-based attacking football, though his sides have been a little more direct, which could allow a smooth transition for the squad between one manager to the next.
Considering the rivalry between the clubs it would be a huge power play from Rangers if they were to make a move, and how hated he would suddenly become among the Aberdeen support may dissuade McInnes from bolting. There’s also the compensation due to Aberdeen, as both McInnes and assistant Tony Docherty are contracted through to 2019.
Tommy Wright (8/1)
Throughout this season, members of the media have made comparisons with Wright’s overachievement at St Johnstone to Warburton’s underachievement at Ibrox. Therefore, it would make sense for the board to see what all the fuss is about by hiring the Northern Irishman, who led St Johnstone to their only major trophy in 2014 as the Perth side won the Scottish Cup.
Despite his achievements and the praise he receives from the national press, Wright is still often overlooked from top jobs. One can only guess, but it could be that club owners refuse to equate success at a smaller club with the demands of taking over a high-profile side. While it’s strange, it also seems likely this will be the stance adopted by Rangers.
Gary Rowett (20/1)
The 42-year-old was unfairly sacked by Birmingham City earlier this season and is primed for a return to management at an equivalent or higher level. If Rangers want to dip back into the same market from which they selected Warburton, then there are few better candidates available than the ex-Derby defender.
It’s possible Rangers will feel their hands were burned by the Warburton experience overall and, at the very least, it may be a little too soon to immediate return to the English Championship for their next appointment.
Terry Butcher (20/1)
No. Just no. Butcher may have been a favourite as a player, and he has had success as a manager with Inverness CT and to a much lesser extent Motherwell, but he’s had too many terrible jobs on his CV, including his last post at Hibs. The Easter Road club were stuck in mediocrity, but that was far more preferable than where Butcher took them, as the club plummeted down the table and into the Championship.
Walter Smith (20/1)
Smith could be an option in a caretaker capacity until the end of the season, particularly as Rangers sit third in the table - 27 points behind Celtic. Smith has had two spells in charge of the club, the second after managing the national side. The 68-year-old’s roll of honour includes 10 Premiership titles, fives Scottish Cups and six League Cups. He’d get the fans onside and would get the best out of the struggling first-team.
If Rangers want to go with a safe pair of hands, McLeish is the likelier option. Although, if McLeish wants a long-term deal and Rangers don’t give it to him, don’t be too surprised if they call on Walter to mind the place while they go in search of a viable candidate to appoint in the summer.
Barry Ferguson (25/1)
Seeing as he’s former captain and winner of 15 domestic honours with the club, it’s no surprise the current Clyde boss is linked with the role. However, Rangers fans need only look at his record with the Broadwood side to know he’s probably not the right man to close the gap on Celtic.
Despite having the biggest budget in the fourth tier, Ferguson has barely even came close to winning the title, as Clyde have failed in their promotion attempt in his two full seasons thus far and look likely to miss out again this campaign.
Ally McCoist (40/1)
Come back Ally, all is forgiven.
Well, not quite. Though it’s easy to dismiss Warburton’s record in the second tier, he undoubtedly did a far better job than McCoist, Kenny McDowall and Stuart McCall did the year prior. The football was also infinitely better to watch. Besides, though Ally would likely love to come back to the club in some capacity one day, he may have had his fill of being Rangers manager.
- Odds via Ladbrokes. Please gamble responsibly.