Falkirk manager Paul Hartley has admitted Rangers’ approach for Jimmy Nicholl has “come out of the blue” as the Northern Irishman looks set for a return to Ibrox as assistant manager.
Hartley only recently appointed the former Rangers, Manchester United and Northern Ireland defender to his backroom staff at the Falkirk Stadium but admitted he wouldn’t stand in the way of an emotional return to Ibrox for his key lieutenant.
Nicholl enjoyed two stints as a player at Ibrox lifting three Scottish League Cups and two Scottish titles as well as taking charge of the Gers’ reserve side under Graeme Souness.
Hartley confirmed Nicholl would be in the dugout for the Bairns clash with Dunfermline on Tuesday before joining up with his old club ahead of their trip to the United States to take part in the Florida Cup.
“It’s come out the blue,” Hartley said, as quoted by the Falkirk Herald.
“I’m disappointed with losing him but I see the other side of it.
“He was out the game for a long time in terms of coaching. We brought him in but it’s one of these opportunities.
“We’re not here to stand in people’s way.
“He’ll be with me until Tuesday at least.”
Hartley and Nicholl had worked together previously when the 73-times capped Northern Irishman managed Hartley at both Raith Rovers and Milwall.
Senior man Nicholl’s appointment brings experience to the Ibrox dugout to help Graeme Murty after the Gers handed Murty the manager’s job until the end of the season.
Nicholl is also part of Michael O’Neill’s coaching staff with the Northern Irish national team and was in the dugout during 2016’s European Championship in France.