Even before Michael Beale’s exit from Rangers had been confirmed, pundits and supporters alike had been discussing who the next manager at Ibrox could be.
Names from home and abroad have been touted as possibilities, with relatively young candidates and experienced bosses mentioned in connection with the vacancy.
Rangers have appointed Steven Davis and Alex Rae as an interim management team as they begin their search for the right man to take the job on a permanent basis, though bookmakers have already drawn up the odds on who will take the Ibrox hot seats.
We’ve looked through the list of potential candidates to see who might be under consideration.
Less than 24 hours after Rangers had announced that they had sacked Michael Beale, former Light Blues player Kevin Muscat was reported to be interested in taking over.
The similarities with a recent success story from across the Clyde can’t be ignored. Like Ange Postecoglou before he moved to Scotland, Muscat is an Australian managing in Japan with Yokohama F Marinos.
The former international defender had a short spell at Ibrox as a player in the 2002-03 season, and moved into coaching after hanging up his boots. Muscat won the A-League twice with Melbourne Victory before an unsuccessful spell in Belgium, and won the J1 League and Japanese Super Cup with his current club.
London-born Dutchman Jansen saw his hopes of a playing career cut short by injury but channelled his energy into coaching and had spells at several clubs before settling at PSV, where he worked in charge of youth teams over a five-year spell.
The ambitious coach had a career plan laid out from the beginning of his career, including fulfilling an aim to be the youngest holder of a UEFA Pro license before he turned 35.
A move to AZ as assistant manager was a step forward and he worked under John de Brom and Arne Slot. Jansen took on the top job in 202 and has impressed in the time since.
AZ have finished fourth, fifth and third in the last three Eredivisie seasons and Jansen has picked up European experience, notably taking the club to the Europa Conference League semi-finals last season.
Norwegian manager Kjetil Knutsen is already well known to Celtic fans after guiding his Bodo/Glimt side to a 5-1 aggregate win over the Parkhead side in the Europa Conference League knockouts in 2022.
It was just another chapter in what has been a remarkable spell of success since Knutsen took over at the relatively unknown side in 2018.
He took them to second place in the league in his second season in charge, a highest-ever finish, then secured back-to-back titles.
A fan of a high-energy pressing style, his achievements have caught the eyes of other clubs, with Ajax considering him for their managerial vacancy last year.
Former Chelsea boss Potter is among the bookies’ favourites for the Ibrox job but there are already reports that he has ruled himself out of the running, as there were a month ago when he was linked with Rangers.
With a string of managers having struggled at Stamford Bridge in recent years, the strong reputation Potter forged in his time in Sweden and at Brighton remains untarnished and he may well have his eye on a return to the English Premier League at the first available opportunity.
A strong start to the season with Kilmarnock, that included wins over Rangers and Celtic, have former Rangers player McInnes touted by some as a ‘safe pair of hands, with the 52-year-old having a wealth of Premiership experience from his time at Aberdeen.
McInnes was, of course, linked with the job in 2017, when he turned down the chance to speak to Rangers and remain with Aberdeen.
In an infamous statement, the Ibrox club “endorsed” McInnes’ decision to reject their advances, saying “moving to a massive club like Rangers is a big step with concomitant risk”.
The hierarchy at Ibrox has changed since then but whether McInnes would be considered for the role again is open to question.
Davis may have the job for the next few games as Rangers go through their process to find the next manager but he is also being backed by some to get the job on a permanent basis.
The fans’ favourite, who has played for the club over two spells and worn the captain’s armband, would command the respect of the players but has no coaching or managing experience, though he has seen everything in his long career for club and country.
It’s become common for young interim managers to keep the job in Scotland in recent years, with Steven Hammell, Barry Robson and Steven Naismith notable examples but it would be a huge surprise if Davis was to emerge as Rangers manager for anything more than a few games.
Among the long shots are a host of names that are interesting for different reasons. Former Fulham boss Scott Parker is on the bookmakers’ list, as is Ralph Hasenhuttl, out of work since leaving Southampton.
There surely is not a Scottish football fan who wouldn’t be intrigued by the prospect of Marcelo Bielsa at Ibrox, though his odds look very low considering he is only five months into his job as Uruguay manager.
American manager Jesse Marsch is among the more intriguing outsiders, while Jon Dahl Tomasson’s work at Malmo and Blackburn may mark him out for a move upwards, it’s unlikely to back at Rangers, where he had a dig at the club’s finances before a European match just a couple of years ago.
Steven Gerrard’s success at the club meant that some of his contemporaries were always going to be linked, and Frank Lampard, John Terry and Wayne Rooney are all quoted at different odds. Gerrard, now in Saudi Arabia, is a long shot.
Former Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has been linked before and Livingston boss David Martindale is a big price to move up from another Premiership club.
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