Next Rangers manager latest as former Ibrox skipper dismisses two Kevin Muscat misconceptions

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The Yokohama F. Marinos boss appears to be up against Belgian coach Philippe Clement for Ibrox job.

Kevin Muscat was considered a ‘hardman’ during his playing days - but former Rangers captain Barry Ferugson doesn’t agree with that notion and dismissed another myth that he is an ‘inexperienced’ boss.

Ferguson played alongside the former Australian international for one season at Ibrox in 2002/03, winning a domestic Treble together under the management of Alex McLeish. The current Yokohama F. Marinos head coach was viewed as a bit of a hothead as a player and has been depicted as a rookie manager, despite having over a decade of managerial experience under his belt.

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While admitting the 50-year-old never shunned a tackle and could handle himself in the dressing room, Ferguson doesn’t agree with the tough-guy persona Muscat was once portrayed as and feels his track record of success in the dugout in Australian and Japan speaks for itself.

Kevin Muscat in action for Rangers at Ibrox during his season-long loan spell in 2002Kevin Muscat in action for Rangers at Ibrox during his season-long loan spell in 2002
Kevin Muscat in action for Rangers at Ibrox during his season-long loan spell in 2002

Muscat - now being strongly linked with the vacant Ibrox job - boasts similar credentials to former Celtic treble-winning boss Ange Postecoglou before he arrived in Glasgow.

Speaking to the Daily Record, Ferguson said: “There’s a false impression about Kev floating around. I’ve heard folk say he’s inexperienced but he’s been managing for more than a decade now and has worked in three different countries. Things might not have gone so well for him in Belgium but he’s done really good things in both Australia and Japan, just as Ange Postecoglou did.

“I take the view that he’s done his apprenticeship and his next step could very well be a move to Glasgow. Yes the demands at Rangers will be far higher than anything he’s gone through before but he’ll know that fine well having played for the club before. He was strong and robust as a player - and I don’t just mean in the tackle!

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“There’s no doubt he enjoyed a challenge. But I don’t agree with the hardman labels he gets hit with. He was just a fully committed footballer. He wasn’t the mad man folk make him out to be, someone who’d jab you on the spot if you looked at him the wrong way.

“Of course, sometimes he might have went over the top a bit, even on the training pitch. But I had no problem with that and neither did any of the guys I played with. At that time, the squad Alex McLeish had wasn’t just one that could play good football. We could all handle ourselves too and we all believed that to win, you had to train like you played on a daily basis.”

Muscat is rumoured to be one of the two remaining candidates left in the running to be appointed Michael Beale’s successor in Govan, with Belgian coach Philippe Clement also gunning for the Rangers hotseat.

Gers hero Ferguson offered his verdict, stating: “It’s clearly a tough decision and the board are right to take their time because the big Belgian has an impressive track record too. Winning titles with Genk and Club Brugge shows he has a knack for winning the big games. And taking Monaco to a third-place finish in France is a decent result too.

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“The fact he won’t cost the board anything in terms of compensation is a bonus having had to pay off Michael Beale and his staff. It’s a tough choice and I like the look of both candidates but if push came to shove I’d go with Musccy, because I know him. But as I said earlier, whichever man gets the gig, I’ll be fully behind him.”

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