Five former Celtic and Rangers stars profiled amid links with St Johnstone vacancy

The Perth club are on the lookout for a new manager after sacking Steven MacLean on Sunday.
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Scottish Premiership strugglers St Johnstone have launched their search to find their next permanent manager - and there are a number of former Old Firm favourites featured in a bookies list of possible contenders.

The Perth club parted ways with boss Steven MacLean and assistant Liam Craig on Sunday following a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of St Mirren in Paisley left them five points adrift at the foot of the top-flight table.

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In the process, club stalwart MacLean picked up the unwanted title of the shortest managerial reign in Saints history after just 19 games in charge yielded a dismal record of just four wins with nearly a 50 per cent loss rate.

Supporters are already beginning to fear the club’s 15-year stay in the Premiership is coming to an end, with recent memories of lifting cup doubles and competing in the Europa League qualifiers now long in the past.

The worry for St Johnstone now is whether the current squad - lacking top-flight experience and full of loanees - are simply not good enough to avoid relegation. Whoever is tasked with leading the McDiarmid Park outfit going forward will have a mammoth job on their hands to arrest their dramatic slide.

Livingson gaffer David Martindale heads the betting and is the current 2/1 favourite to land the post, while former Hearts boss Robbie Neilson is priced at 8/1 along with former Saints midfielder Jody Morris who also features promimently. There is also plenty Celtic and Rangers interest in the vacancy with a number of ex Old Firm stars in contention.

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Here, GlasgowWorld takes an in-depth look into their managerial profiles...

Scott Brown - 6/1

The legendary former Hoops captain has been out of work since losing his job at EFL League One side Fleetwood Town two months ago and is said to be getting “itchy feet” as he eyes a return to the dugout.

It was his first managerial appointment and Brown created history along the way as he guided the Cod Army to the FA Cup fifth round for the first time ever last season. He also achieved a solid 13th-placed finish but was given the bullet after a difficult start to the campaign. Could he be tempted by a potential return to Scotland?

Kevin Thomson - 9/1

Ex-Rangers, Hibs and Middlesbrough midfielder Thomson hung up his boots in 2016 and after a stint coaching within the Ibrox youth academy, he stepped into his first management gig with Kelty Hearts back in May 2021.

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He replaced former team-mate Barry Ferguson in the process and guided the Fife club to the SPFL League Two title and promotion in his debut season before resiging the following year. He boasted an impressive 60.87% win ratio during his time at New Central Park and is understood to be keen on a return to management.

Neil Lennon - 10/1

The Northern Irishman will be a familiar name to many followers of Scottish football. The former Celtic and Hibs boss is searching for his next opportunity after leaving Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus last year.

A proven winner during his playing days at Parkhead and later as the club’s manager, Lennon has already made it clear the St Johnstone vacancy is a “very difficult” job to step into at the moment and that it would not suit his ambitions right now.

Billy Dodds - 10/1

Also seeking his next club is former Aberdeen, Dundee United and Rangers striker Dodds, who spent a brief six month spell at McDiarmid Park during his playing days in 1994.

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Capped 26 times for Scotland, Dodds combined various coaching roles with his punditry work for BBC Scotland after hanging up his boots. He served as assistant manager to Jim McIntyre at Ross County between 2014 and 2017 and later decided to strike out on his own with Championship side Inverness CT.

In his first full season, Dodds guided the Highlanders to the Premiership play-off final before losing 6-2 on aggregate to St Johnstone. In his second season the club reached the Scottish Cup final but again went down 3-1 to Celtic. He was sacked last months with the team sitting bottom of the second tier, but would he boast the type of profile Saints are looking for?

Ian Murray - 12/1

Former Hibs and Rangers defender Murray is currently in charge of Championship side Raith Rovers. He has gained plenty of managerial experience over the years after stints with Dumbarton, St Mirren and Airdrieonians.

Despite a low-key 7th-placed finish in the league last season, the Kirkcaldy club reached the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup under Murray’s leadership and guided them to the Challenge Cup final where they lost out narrowly to Hamilton Academical back in March.

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