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[an error occurred while processing this directive] Tuesday, 11 December, 2001, 16:08 GMT
Rangers unveil McLeish
McLeish (left) sits alongside Dick Advocaat
McLeish faces the media alongside Advocaat
Alex McLeish has been unveiled as Rangers' 11th manager after a dramatic day at Ibrox.

The former Hibernian boss has been brought in to replace Dick Advocaat, who has moved upstairs into a new role as director of football.

The Easter Road club gave the Glasgow giants permission to speak to the former Aberdeen and Scotland star and McLeish had no hesitation in agreeing terms.

He will be accompanied at Ibrox by Andy Watson, who was his trusted assistant during their time in Edinburgh.


"It is stunning to be at this level and I suppose the pressure here will be quite enormous
Alex McLeish

A delighted McLeish said: "It's fantastic and a stunning feeling to be announced as the new manager of Glasgow Rangers.

"It is a phenomenal feeling and I'm really looking forward to what is a fantastic challenge in my football career."

McLeish insisted he was relishing the challenge with the Glasgow giants and admitted he was still coming to terms with the move after a whirlwind 24 hours.

The 42-year-old said: "It's all a bit surreal. It's like a movie here and it will take some time to sink in."

He added: "I can see what this club means by the turn-out tonight.

"It's new territory, but that's part and parcel of climbing up the football ladder and that's why I came to this kind of level.

"It is stunning to be at this level and I suppose the pressure here will be quite enormous - I am relishing the challenge."

Hibernian had earlier agreed a compensation fee with Rangers which paved the way for a deal to be struck with the Easter Road manager.

The Edinburgh club had originally turned down an official approach from Rangers for Hibs manager McLeish on Monday.

But a statement from Easter Road said on Tuesday: "The board of Hibernian FC has today reluctantly given permission to Rangers FC to approach Alex McLeish.

"The board has made its decision after it was made clear that Alex McLeish had a strong desire to speak with Rangers.


Donald Park will operate as acting head coach
Hibernian statement
"A compensation agreement has been reached between the two clubs."

Hibs had demanded up to 2m in compensation, but Rangers were initially only prepared to part with 750,000.

"In the meantime, Donald Park will operate as acting head coach and will be in temporary charge of team matters," said the Hibs statement.

"The club wishes to place on record its great appreciation of the work done at Easter Road by Alex McLeish and to wish him well for the future."

McLeish arrived at Ibrox on Tuesday evening to negotiate his personal terms with Rangers chairman David Murray.

The former Aberdeen and Scotland defender is expected to take charge of first team affairs from Saturday.

The Dutchman will move into a new role as director of football, transfer dealings being among his responsibilities, with McLeish becoming a Continental-style head coach concentrating on the playing side.

Wednesday's Scottish Premier League visit to Ibrox by Hibs will now be Advocaat's last game in charge.

It also appears that it could be the last appearance in the Ibrox dugout for Advocaat's assistant, Bert van Lingen, and coach Jan Wouters.

Hibs skipper Franck Sauzee challenges for the ball
Franck Sauzee (right) could replace McLeish

Hibs had cancelled the pre-match press conference planned for Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's Scottish Premier League match, ironically against Rangers.

They will now have to start the search for a replacement, with experienced French midfielder Franck Sauzee being an early tip by some pundits.

McLeish made his name as one of the mainstays of Alex Ferguson's great Aberdeen side of the 1980s and, with 77 caps for Scotland, is the nation's third most capped player.

He began his managerial career in 1994 as player-boss at Motherwell, before joining Hibs four years later.

His arrival at Easter Road could not prevent the club slipping into Division One, but they bounced straight back into the SPL during McLeish's first full season in charge.

Last season, Hibs began in very impressive form, eventually finishing third in the table and reaching the Scottish Cup final.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Roddy Forsyth
"Negotiations are now underway between Rangers and Hibs"
Rangers manager Dick Advocaat
"I don't think there's any doubt about the quality of McLeish"
See also:

12 Dec 01 |  Football
McLeish's rise to power
11 Dec 01 |  Scotland
Alex McLeish Factfile
11 Dec 01 |  Scotland
Advocaat reveals his reasons
09 Dec 01 |  Scotland
Gers step up manager search
07 Dec 01 |  Uefa Cup
Advocaat hints at longer stay
03 Dec 01 |  Scotland
Murray's empire under pressure
03 Dec 01 |  Scotland
Gough would love Ibrox return
30 Nov 01 |  Scotland
Gers resigned to losing players
28 Nov 01 |  Scotland
Rangers set for reshuffle
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