Rangers: Alex McLeish 'the ideal' candidate as manager, say former players

Alex McLeish
McLeish had a five-year spell as Rangers manager

Alex McLeish would be the ideal fit to be the new Rangers manager, according to three of the club's former players.

Under-20 coach Graeme Murty has taken temporary charge of the side following the departure of Mark Warburton.

McLeish was in charge of Rangers for five years until 2006.

Former director of football Gordon Smith thinks McLeish will be "strongly in contention", while brothers Barry and Derek Ferguson agreed that he would be an "outstanding candidate".

McLeish's last managerial job was with Zamalek, but he was sacked by the Egyptian Premier League club following a series of poor performances after only three months in the post.

However, asked about McLeish, former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson told BBC Scotland: "I think we need a Rangers man back in there.

"There's a lot of good Rangers men out there and a lot of good managers out there.

"But, for me, we need someone who knows the club inside out and Alex certainly does that.

"I played a long time under him - he's been my manager at Rangers, Birmingham and Scotland and he would be a good shout."

Smith believes the 58-year-old would be someone who would interest Rangers.

Frank de Boer
Frank de Boer is a former Rangers player and would be interested in the job

"They will want to try and get someone who has a previous track record with Rangers either as a player or as a manager," the former Rangers midfielder told BBC Radio Scotland.

"Alex McLeish definitely comes strongly into contention."

Smith thinks McLeish is a more likely successor than Walter Smith, the 68-year-old who has already had two successful stints as Rangers manager.

"Walter Smith could, but it depends whether he himself would want to because he did come back and have his three years there, turned things around and won three titles and then decided even on a winning streak that that was enough - his time was up," he said.

"I don't know whether Walter would want to do it.

"Alex McLeish is available at the moment and if you get somebody who's done a good job at Rangers in the past who could come back in - Walter Smith's done it before - they could turn things around."

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes, whose side sit a place above third-top Rangers on goal difference in the Premiership, is another former Rangers player who could be in the reckoning for the post.

"I don't think Derek McInnes would be ready to move at this stage of his career," said Smith. "He's taking things forward with Aberdeen and doing well there."

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes
McInnes' Aberdeen are ahead of Rangers on goal difference

Warburton was replaced amid much confusion with Rangers saying they accepted his resignation while he insisted he had not stood down and would be contacting his legal advisors.

Ferguson thinks McLeish, who also managed Motherwell, Hibernian, Scotland, Birmingham City, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Genk, is the most obvious choice as Rangers attempt to narrow the gap on city rivals Celtic, who have a 27-point lead in the Premiership.

"The one that jumps out right away for me is Alex McLeish," he said. "He's the outstanding candidate.

"He's been there, he's done it and he's not working at the moment.

"He could come in and steady the ship until all this legal stuff takes its course."

Meanwhile, former Rangers defender Frank de Boer admitted he would be interested in speaking to Rangers.

The 46-year-old former Ajax coach, who had a short spell at Ibrox in 2004, is without a club after leaving Inter Milan last year.

De Boer told Sky Sports that he was not interested in taking up an appointment until the start of next season but said he would "always listen" to any approaches.

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