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Page last updated at 08:36 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 09:36 UK

Advocaat's Rangers legacy

UEFA CUP FINAL
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium Date: Wed 14 May Kick-off: 1945 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio Scotland, full text coverage on BBC Sport website

By Andy Campbell

David Murray and Dick Advocaat
Murray lured Advocaat to Ibrox during the late 1990s
When Dick Advocaat became the Rangers manager in 1998, it was a brave new dawn for the Ibrox club as chairman David Murray attempted to begin a new chapter in the club's history following Walter Smith's departure.

Advocaat became the club's first foreign manager and arrived in Scotland with an impressive CV that included a World Cup quarter-final appearance with the Netherlands and a league championship victory as PSV Eindhoven coach.

Affectionately known as 'The Little General', Advocaat was immediately tasked with rebuilding a squad that contained only a few remnants of Smith's nine-in-a-row title-winning side.

With the financial backing of Murray, big money buys like Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Arthur Numan and Andrei Kanchelskis were among Advocaat's first signings as Rangers aimed to regain the ascendancy in Scottish football.

TEAMS MANAGED BY ADVOCAAT
HFC Haarlem (1987-89)
FC Dordrecht (1989-92)
Netherlands (1992-94)
PSV Eindhoven (1995-98)
Rangers (1998-2001)
Netherlands (2002-04)
Borussia Monchengladbach (2004-05)
United Arab Emirates (2005)
South Korea (2005-06)
Zenit St Petersburg (2006-)
The previous season had yielded no trophies, but Advocaat reversed that trend in an impressive first season as Rangers won the treble and enjoyed a decent run in the Uefa Cup.

More signings and more success followed in Advocaat's second year and he won more favour with the fans by qualifying for the Champions League.

As Celtic toiled under John Barnes, Rangers romped to a second successive title and added another Scottish Cup to the trophy cabinet.

It was going so well and Rangers fans continued to look into the future with confidence that their manager may even take the club to the next level in Europe.

But then something was to happen to Advocaat from which he would never recover. And that something was Martin O'Neill.

Martin O'Neill
O'Neill rejuvenated Celtic to overcome Advocaat's Rangers
The Irishman became the Celtic manager in 2000 and immediately transformed the fortunes of Rangers' Glasgow rivals.

In his first Old Firm game in charge O'Neill's side hammered Rangers 6-2, a result which would signify a shift in the Glasgow ascendancy as Celtic went on to win the treble.

Approaching his fourth season in charge, Advocaat faced an almighty task to wrestle the title back from the East End of the city but the new term started much like the previous one had ended as Rangers failed to match Celtic's remarkable consistency.

The writing was on the wall for Advocaat after a second Old Firm defeat of the season and within weeks he was given an escape route by Murray.

Hibernian boss Alex McLeish was brought in as the new manager and the Dutchman moved into a newly-created director of football role.

Before too long, Advocaat took over the Dutch national side for a second time and, after initially splitting his time between Rangers and the Netherlands, he left Ibrox for good in 2002.

In many respects, Advocaat's legacy as Rangers boss manifested itself off the park more than on it.

Zenit St Petersburg celebrate beating Bayern Munich
Zenit will provide a stern test for Rangers in Manchester
He had insisted upon the building of a new training centre and youth academy that would - in time - produce players for the first team.

But the huge financial outlay on transfers, most notably the 12m capture of Tore Andre Flo, would seriously limit the means made available to McLeish and his successor Paul Le Guen.

And in a true football irony, Advocaat is now readying his Zenit St Petersburg side to face Rangers in the Uefa Cup final with the Ibrox club managed once again by Smith.

But, regardless of the outcome of next week's Manchester date, Advocaat will forever be remembered as a Rangers manager who experienced both the peaks and the troughs all too familiar with Old Firm management.


see also
Uefa Cup final tactics
14 May 08 |  Europe
Smith urging Rangers final push
13 May 08 |  Rangers
Rangers player profiles
13 May 08 |  Rangers
Warming up nicely in Manchester
12 May 08 |  Rangers
Hateley backing Smith's approach
12 May 08 |  Rangers
Zenit St Petersburg v Rangers
12 May 08 |  Europe
Racism warning for Zenit support
12 May 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Zenit gear up with Alkmaar draw
11 May 08 |  Rangers
Walter's way works for Rangers
02 May 08 |  Rangers
Rangers can be legends
02 May 08 |  Rangers
The secrets of Rangers' success
11 Apr 08 |  Rangers


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