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Friday, 11 May, 2001, 22:00 GMT 23:00 UK
McLean makes Rangers return
Tommy McLean in action for Rangers against Celtic
Tommy McLean in action for Rangers against Celtic
Rangers have confirmed that former Ibrox stalwart Tommy McLean has returned to the club as director of youth development.

McLean rejoins the club after an 18-year absence to work alongside Jan Derks, who he is being groomed to succeed as head of youth coaching operations, bringing on Rangers' young hopefuls at their new academy in Auchinhowie.

Former Rangers goalkeeper Billy Thomson also returns to the club as goalkeeping coach, with Alan Hodgkinson looking after the youth goalkeepers.

The two additions come just a week after manager Dick Advocaat appointed former Ajax manager Jan Wouters as first team coach.

I am obviously delighted to be returning to the club where I spent 12 very rewarding and happy seasons.
  Tommy McLean
Advocaat told the Rangers website: "I am delighted to be welcoming Tommy and Billy.

"Tommy returns to the club with an excellent playing and management pedigree at the highest level.

"He is well-known within the game as an excellent coach at all levels and, in particular, for the work he has done with the youth players.

"Billy too has tremendous experience in playing and coaching and will build on the excellent work done by Alan Hodgkinson who will now commit his vast experience to the essential role of developing the young goalkeepers.

"With the opening of our new training centre they will fulfil key roles within the new structure."

McLean has filled a similar role with Dundee United this term, easing the path of the likes of Paul Gallacher and Jamie McCunnie into the first-team.

'Great opportunity'

He told the club website: "I am obviously delighted to be returning to the club where I spent 12 very rewarding and happy seasons.

"I am very aware of the importance of my new role and I had no hesitation in accepting the chairman and Dick Advocaat¿s invitation to return.

"I am looking forward to being involved with the Rangers youth players and the new centre will certainly give me an excellent platform on which to work with the players of the future.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Alex Smith and the coaches at Tannadice for giving me the chance to become involved again in football at the start of this season".

Thomson said: "This is a great opportunity for me to work with top keepers at a top club and I am looking forward to the challenge."

Dundee United manager Alex Smith admitted McLean was a loss to the Tannadice club.

Tommy McLean wins the cup with Well
Tommy McLean wins the cup with Well
"When you lose quality like Tommy, it is always difficult to replace them," said Smith.

"We are fortunate to have the coaches we have here with Tom being one of them.

"Tom has so much experience and knowledge which has been very good. That will be a major boost for Rangers."

McLean returns to Ibrox after previously playing and coaching with the Light Blues.

He joined Rangers for £65,000 in 1971 before going on to win the European Cup Winners' Cup in the 3-2 win over Dinamo Moscow in Barcelona.

After the Scottish Cup final defeat by Aberdeen in 1982, McLean retired from playing to join former team-mate - and then Rangers boss - John Greig in the dugout.

When Greig left the club, McLean took temporary charge before winning his first managerial opportunity with Morton in 1983.

However, just a year later, McLean moved to Motherwell and, after seven years at the helm, guided the club to only their second Scottish Cup victory in a thrilling 4-3 win over brother Jim's Dundee United side.

Semi-final embarrassment

Three years later, after guiding the Fir Park side into the UEFA Cup and third place in the league, McLean quit and took over from Sandy Clark at Hearts.

McLean lasted just one year at Tynecastle in a disappointing season that included a semi-final embarrassment against Airdrieonians and near-relegation for the Edinburgh side.

But the shortest appointment of McLean's career was to follow a year later, when he took charge at Raith in 1996 - for a week.

Brother Jim viewed his brother as the perfect replacement for former Tannadice boss Billy Kirkwood.

Despite an excellent first season, during which he took the club to third in the league and the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup, McLean was soon on his travels again after stepping down as United boss in 1998.

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See also:

09 May 01 |  Rangers
Captain's club back Fergie
07 May 01 |  Scot Prem
Smith: One win will seal it
13 Oct 00 |  Dundee Utd
Tommy's return meets with criticism
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