Manager confirms he will quit soon Rangers' victory againts Hearts almost incidental as speculation mounts over Advocaat's successor
Ewing Grahame at ibrox
10 Dec 2001
Rangers 3 Hearts 1 Scorers: Rangers - De Boer (7min), Latapy (20), Arveladze (70); Hearts - McKenna (40).
There were many interesting topics to discuss at Ibrox yesterday but the content of this match was not high on that list. Of much more pressing concern to the home crowd was the identity of Dick Advocaat's successor.
The names of Alex McLeish, George Burley, George Graham, Louis van Gaal, and Berti Vogts, have already been fed to a variety of media sources; indeed, there have been so many leaks from the club recently that perhaps a plumber, rather than a manager, should be Rangers' priority.
Certainly, Advocaat himself was giving little away following the routine filleting of Hearts, although he did confirm for the first time last night that he will be quitting as coach sooner rather than later.
''We will announce this as soon as possible,'' he said.
''There will be a new manager but we don't know when.
You mentioned Wednesday but it could be a little later so we need to wait until we think we can do it.'' When I asked him why he would want to leave with the club still in the UEFA Cup, he replied: ''I don't want to comment on that because then I need to give a straight answer and I can't.'' But is there going to be a new coach? ''I don't know.
Well, I know - but not today.'' Meanwhile, the appointment of McLeish - it would cost Rangers between (pounds) 750,000 and (pounds) 1m to buy out his contract - would be welcomed by Russell Latapy, the Trinidadian midfielder he sacked at Easter Road after a breach of club discipline before last season's Tennents Scottish Cup final against Celtic.
He claimed: ''It always pleases me in football to see a young man get an opportunity to do well.
It would be good if he came here because he is a good young manager who's done well for himself.
What happened before was unfortunate but it's now in the past.'' Hmmm .
Frankly, the idea of Advocaat becoming some kind of hands-off director of football seemed even more ludicrous after witnessing his all-consuming passion for involvement again yesterday.
As is his practice, the coach took his seat in the director's box at the kick-off but his urge to communicate more directly with his players meant he was in the dug-out within five minutes, barking orders and dispensing encouragement and abuse in equal measure.
It's reasonable to assume that this input does more for Dick than it does for his team, who seemed to be coping perfectly well with their opponents before his intervention.
The other problem surrounding Advocaat being moved upstairs is that his continued presence at the club, and his obvious closeness with chairman David Murray, would repel more top-quality coaches than it would attract.
Unless, of course, that coach also happened to be Dutch.
Or relatively inexperienced.
Yesterday's other major topic for debate concerns the Old Firm's continued desire to leave Scotland.
That argument now has a footballing logic as well as a fiscal one.
In 30 league fixtures against the 10 other SPL clubs this season, Celtic and Rangers have yet to be beaten, and, while the Phoenix option may prove to be as dead as the dodo, the Glasgow giants will continue to press for their inclusion in a restructured Premiership set-up.
It was just as well there were so many other imponderables for the supporters to consider because the outcome of this contest had been settled before it had run a quarter of its course, and by a Rangers side who bore little resemblance to the one who triumphed against Paris Saint-Germain the previous Thursday.
Apart from Claudio Reyna, Craig Moore, Bert Konterman, Barry Ferguson, Peter Lovenkrands, and Tore Andre Flo were all posted missing, mainly through injury.
Even so, the home side opened the scoring after just six minutes when Latapy delayed his through-ball for Ronald de Boer in order to spring Hearts' offside trap.
The ploy worked a treat and the Dutchman sidefooted past Antti Niemi from eight yards to notch his first domestic goal since September 22.
Thirteen minutes later, and without Hearts having launched an attack worthy of the name, that lead had doubled.
Claudio Caniggia's perfectly-timed pass released de Boer on the left, his cutback was dummied by Shota Arveladze, and Latapy's left-foot drive from 19 yards ricocheted off Steve Fulton and looped over Niemi.
Surprisingly, Hearts continued to persevere with their offside ploy and it failed them yet again midway through the first half when de Boer raced on to Lorenzo Amoruso's long ball and turned Stephane Mahe inside out before curling a shot inches wide from 15 yards.
Still, while Rangers moved on to auto-pilot, the visitors kept plodding away and, with six minutes of the first half remaining, Kevin McKenna's 20-yard free-kick toook a deflection to wrong-foot Stefan Klos and beat the German at his right-hand post.
Despite that, Rangers continued to control the game, although it was a sign of their opponents' naivete that they scored their clinching third goal directly from a Hearts corner.
With Craig Levein's men over-committed, Rangers broke forward at speed and, following Tony Vidmar's surging run, Caniggia's one-two with Arveladze left the Argentine with only Niemi to beat.
The goalkeeper, easily his team's best performer, did well to parry the striker's shot, but Arveladze stroked home the rebound from six yards.
That completed the scoring but I suspect the speculation surrounding the future of Rangers and the men at the helm will continue for some time yet.
Hibs up price, Page 3 Substitutions Rangers Hughes (de Boer 70min), McCann (Caniggia 72) Hearts Boyack (McKenna 74), Wales (Fulton 74), Kirk (Gronlund 84) Subs not used Rangers Christiansen, Moore, Flo Hearts McKenzie, McCann REFEREE Kevin Toner bookings Rangers None Hearts None Attendance 47,891
Taken from the Herald