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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 January 2007, 19:13 GMT
Rangers reel as Le Guen departs

By Julian Taylor

Paul Le Guen
Le Guen arrived at Rangers with an impressive reputation at Lyon
Paul le Guen's surprise exit as Rangers manager has left those close to the club in shock, as the Ibrox side seek to rescue something from what has proved to be a miserable season.

The Frenchman decided to leave after talks with executive chairman Sir David Murray, following a controversial decision to drop Barry Ferguson and strip him of the club captaincy.

Rangers are now in a significant state of flux.

They have to find a way forward to improve both their dismal form, and to recruit a new manager with a reputation that will satisfy the fans.

Rangers lie second in the SPL, 17 points adrift of Old Firm rivals Celtic - who have also progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

With this background, the task of managing the Light Blues was always going to be a tough one, even for the highly-rated Le Guen.

Rumours of dressing room unrest this season have bedevilled Alex McLeish's successor during his time in Scotland.

The former Lyon coach leaves Glasgow following a mixed record after 31 games in charge.

While the highlights have clearly been in the European arena with progress to the last 32 of the Uefa Cup, domestically Rangers have unravelled.

Defeats against Inverness Caledonian Thistle twice, and Falkirk characterised Le Guen's fitful spell.

I feel that he (Le Guen) decided to leave now while his reputation was still relatively intact

Graham Roberts
Rangers lost six games in the SPL and were knocked out of the CIS Insurance Cup at home to St Johnstone - the first time the Ibrox club had lost at home to a lower division side in a cup competition.

The setback prompted Murray to publicly back his manager after just five months in the job.

Graham Roberts, who played for Rangers in 1987/88 says Le Guen has been planning his departure.

"He never really got to grips with Scottish football, " he said.

"I feel that he decided to leave now while his reputation was still relatively intact, before Rangers' season began to perhaps worsen.

"Maybe David Murray has been thinking that Le Guen wasn't up to the job," added the former Tottenham Hotspur defender.

Paul Le Guen and Barry Ferguson
Le Guen and Ferguson's rows prompted the manager's exit
"The new manager of Rangers has to be someone who is steeped in the club's traditions, someone who is known for their passion and commitment.

"It would be great for the club if someone like Walter Smith and maybe Ally McCoist were to return, back where they belong."

Barry Ferguson's brother, Derek, who was a Rangers player in the 1980s, admitted he was surprised at Le Guen's departure.

"Barry and I are disappointed to see Paul le Guen leave, as it's not nice to see anyone lose their job," he said.

"Both Barry and Paul are professionals, but the situation affecting Barry wasn't good with the way things were between them.

"I know Barry will be very happy that he is staying at the club," he added.

"He is on record as saying that when he left for Blackburn it was the biggest mistake of his life."

When you look at the current squad there isn't a lot of quality

Nigel Spackman
The club's reserve-team coach, Ian Durrant, will take charge of training on Friday ahead of the club's next match, a Tennent's Scottish Cup tie, against Dunfermline Athletic on Sunday.

Former Rangers midfielder Nigel Spackman is backing Durrant to bring some short-term stability.

"Ian is a fantastic character who is Rangers through and through," he said.

"I know he will keep morale high for the cup game against Dunfermline and if he does a good job he may well remain in charge for the rest of the season."

Spackman - who captained Rangers to a 1991 title victory under Walter Smith - feels that whoever takes over from Le Guen has a major task ahead.

"It's a very tough job now at Rangers, especially with Celtic so far ahead in both the Scottish Premier League and the Champions League.

"When you look at the current squad there isn't a lot of quality, so there is a lot of pressure on Rangers now."

Clash of cultures
05 Jan 07 |  Rangers
Smith and McCoist set for Ibrox
05 Jan 07 |  Rangers
Le Guen and Rangers part company
04 Jan 07 |  Rangers
Le Guen points blame at Ferguson
02 Jan 07 |  Rangers
Gers strip Ferguson of captaincy
01 Jan 07 |  Rangers


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