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Tommy Wright would revitalise Rangers, insists former Ibrox favourite

 

By Graham Luney

Former Rangers favourite Jimmy Nicholl believes Tommy Wright is the man who can spark an Ibrox revival.

St Johnstone boss Wright is one of the candidates in the running to succeed Pedro Caixinha, who was axed yesterday after seven months in charge.

The former Northern Ireland goalkeeper would be a popular choice - particularly among the Gers' Ulster fan base - and Nicholl, who won two league titles with the Scottish giants in the 1980s, believes the 54-year-old would relish the "mammoth task".

"I've read and heard comments about Tommy being linked with the job and I'm confident he would go in there and do a very good job," said Nicholl, who is assistant to new Falkirk manager Paul Hartley. "Any Rangers manager is going to be faced with a mammoth task."

Nicholl added: "Tommy knows the Scottish game and he knows how to handle players. I don't think he's had too many foreign players to work with in the St Johnstone squad but he's got the best out of what he has. There's Michael O'Halloran, who has been on loan from Rangers and scoring goals for them. Tommy can get players like that delivering for him.

"Rangers need someone with a no-nonsense approach who can come in and make an instant impact, turn the club around immediately. As a football man with a strong personality, Tommy can make a difference but he would have to work with the players that Pedro brought in.

"New relationships will now need to be built and players will be thinking, 'Am I in the manager's plans?' and that's where good man management comes in. Tommy could get an instant reaction from the players and the club needs to get moving in the right direction straight away.

"Other names have been mentioned like Alex McLeish and Derek McInnes and they would need to get the respect of the foreign players at the club. The players will need to be given clear demands to get them to respond."

Caixinha was dismissed after the team slipped to fourth in the Premiership following a 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock at Ibrox on Wednesday.

That draw came three days after Rangers lost the Scottish League Cup semi-final to Motherwell, with Caixinha never having won three games in succession during his seven months in charge.

Caixinha won 14 of his 26 games and while coach Graeme Murty takes over on an interim basis, Nicholl says an inspirational character is needed to banish the gloom.

"Rangers are a huge club and I always have sympathy when someone loses their job but then you are sometimes asking yourself the question, 'What is the sense in that appointment?'" added Nicholl, who is Michael O'Neill's No.2 with Northern Ireland.

"It's one thing having enthusiasm for the job and a passion for it but do you have the know-how and really understand how to get the best out of the players?

"I've heard former players say potential managers should be steeped in the club's history or in the history of the Scottish game and yes, that might help, but it's not the complete answer. Rangers need a strong character, someone who commands the respect of the club, fans and players. You can't take that support for granted."

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