Rangers: Director of football is right way ahead, says Gordon Smith

Gordon Smith worked with manager Ally McCoist at Ibrox
Smith (left) worked with manager Ally McCoist during his short time at Ibrox

Rangers are correct to pursue a model in which a new manager would work under a director of football, according to Gordon Smith, who previously struggled to make an impact in such a role.

Managing director Stewart Robertson said Rangers "want to be a modern football club", adding that a director of football would bring "continuity".

"It works provided everyone involved in the club is willing to get behind it," Smith told BBC Scotland.

"I feel it's the right way ahead."

Former Scottish FA chief executive Smith, 62, served as director of football for 10 months under the Craig Whyte regime, leaving shortly after the club entered administration in February 2012.

"It's a continental strategy," Smith explained. "We've been a bit reluctant in Scotland to apply it but you have some clubs now who are doing it, and Hearts are a good example. It's working well there so I think that's exactly what Rangers need to do to take the club forward in a very positive sense."

Ally McCoist was the manager when Smith, a former Rangers player, took up his position.

"If it's something that comes in from the higher echelon then there's more chance of it working.

"When I went in six years ago, there was no, I would say, good feeling about it in terms of the people that were already there. They didn't think it was required and I found it very difficult to do my job even in terms of the reports I had done, the changes that needed made.

"The person who goes into that job actually has to operate the strategy of the club. I was trying to put a strategy in place at that time that was uniform and that everyone could adhere to but I had difficulties with it."

Youth coach Graeme Murty is looking after the first team at Rangers
Youth coach Graeme Murty continues to look after the first team at Rangers

Smith, who made his Rangers debut in 1977 after a move from Kilmarnock, warns that a new approach will take time to bed in.

"You're looking at a medium to long term strategy," he said.

"What you're looking at is to say 'OK we need to put things in place; the club in general has to run in a certain way'. The first team will still have a coach and there will still be pressure on the first team manager to deliver results.

"But other than that, you need to put something in place for the club as a whole in terms of youth development and the scouting department and everything to do with the media and all that sort of thing so the club runs in a very clear and good operative manner.

"It could take a while there's no doubt about that. It needs finance coming in as well to compete at where Rangers want to be."

Comment

Willie Miller, Aberdeen director of football from 2011-12

I think it's a good model but there are question marks in Scotland about whether coaches and managers would buy into it, older managers in particular.

I thought it worked well at Aberdeen. It's working well at Hearts.

Managers or head coaches need that help behind the scenes. There's an awful lot of work, particularly in negotiating contracts, that can be taken out of their hands and they can focus fully on coaching the team.

I know how Gordon Smith feels, it is a very difficult job to implement, particularly when you've got a bit of negativity going about in terms of whether it actually is the right way to go or not.

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