Rangers sack manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst, replacement, Kevin Muscat, Ange Postecoglou, Scottish Premiership
Rangers sacked manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst on Monday after just a year in charge at Ibrox, with Aussie Kevin Muscat floated as a potential replacement to go up against Celtic and Ange Postecoglou.
The former Netherlands captain led the Glasgow giants to the Europa League final in May, but failed to win the Scottish Premiership last season and leaves with Rangers nine points behind Celtic in the title race.
“I want to thank Gio for the hard work he has put in over the last 12 months and, especially, the achievements of taking the club to the Europa League final and winning the Scottish Cup last season,” said Rangers chairman Douglas Park in a statement.
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“Unfortunately, recent results have not met neither our nor Gio’s expectations, and we have taken this difficult decision today. Everyone at Rangers wishes Gio every success in the future.”
Former Rangers boss Michael Beale and ex-Burnley coach Sean Dyche are among the front-runners to replace Van Bronckhorst but Muscat, who recently won the J-League with Yokohama F Marinos, is also in the mix.
Muscat played a season at Rangers and as part of the 2002-03 squad won a domestic treble, and Sydney FC coach Steve Corica recently argued the Aussie could do to Rangers what Ange has done for Celtic.
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“Kevin obviously took over Yokohama after Ange. He had a lot of turnaround of players and stuff like that,” Corica said.
“But he went on and won the league this season, so I’m sure Kevin could do a great job at Rangers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin’s being linked with the job.
“He’s just won the J-League in Japan while he’s also won the A-League here. So Kevin’s very capable, he’s a very good coach and I know he’s very thorough in what he does.
“Wherever he’s gone he’s won trophies. So, I have no doubt he would do a great job at Rangers.
“Of course Kevin would take on Ange. He’s very competitive, Kevin. He’s a fiery character and yes, obviously, very good at his job. I’m sure one day he probably will end up at Rangers.”
Scottish tabloid The Daily Record named Muscat as one of the leading candidates.
“A title-winning manager from Yokohama Marinos was just the tonic for Celtic but would Rangers repeat the trick? The former Ibrox star was more of a passing figure than club legend but his managerial chops suggest someone capable of galvanising a squad in need of a spark,” they wrote.
“Muscat has been hotly-tipped as a contender to become the next Socceroos boss but would a return to Europe prove too much to turn down? If Muscat was the choice it would lead to a fascinating battle of wits with compatriot and mentor Ange Postecoglou who he replaced as Marinos boss. The storyline is compelling, of that there is no doubt.”
Van Bronckhorst, who played for Rangers between 1998 and 2001, replaced Steven Gerrard in November last year when the latter departed Ibrox to take charge of Aston Villa.
Despite a positive start, Rangers let a six-point lead over Celtic slip away as Ange Postecoglou claimed the title in his first season in charge of the Hoops.
The disappointment was diminished by a run to just Rangers’ second European final in 50 years before losing out in agonising fashion to Eintracht Frankfurst on penalties in Seville.
Rangers responded impressively just days later to win the Scottish Cup with a 2-0 win over Hearts at Hampden.
There was another notable European achievement early this season as Rangers beat PSV Eindhoven to reach the Champions League group stages for the first time in 12 years.
But their return to Europe’s biggest stage turned into a nightmare as they recorded the worst ever performance by a side in the group stages with six defeats from six matches against Liverpool, Napoli and Ajax and a -20 goal difference.
Domestically there was also no respite for Van Bronckhorst either as Celtic romped to a 4-0 win in the only meeting between the sides thufar this season in September.
Further dropped points against Livingston, St. Johnstone and St. Mirren in Van Bronckhorst’s final five league games in charge leave his successor with a mountain to climb to wrest the title back from Celtic in the final 23 league games of the season.
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