COMMENT By Danny Wright
Rangers have been searching for weeks to replace Pedro Caixinha and are seemingly willing to play the waiting game with their statement about applicants last week.
Derek McInnes is widely reported to be the Gers’ number one target to be given the job, but with no approach made for the Aberdeen boss as of yet, it seems that there is something holding the Glaswegians back.
They could have been waiting for today to launch an assault on an international manager who has masterminded an astonishing rise in success of one of Europe’s smallest nations.
Michael O’Neill was on the cusp of taking Northern Ireland to the World Cup and they were robbed in their 1-0 play-off loss to Switzerland after a shambolic refereeing decision cost them.
On Sunday, they failed to overturn a one-goal deficit from the first-leg and now it seems like the perfect time for Rangers to make a move for the Northern Irishman.
The 46-year-old doesn’t have all the pre-requisites of what all the pundits want, he’s not a former Rangers man, but that doesn’t mean it should be the be all and end all.
Walter Smith never played for the Light Blues, nor did treble-winning boss Alex McLeish and the legendary Jock Wallace, so why should it be the top attribute of being the next Ibrox boss?
O’Neill has experience of managing and playing in Scotland plus his track record with Northern Ireland shows that he is able to get the best out of players against some top opposition, which is exactly what Rangers need when facing against the likes of Celtic in their remaining Old Firm games this season.
The Green and White Army even broke into the top 20 of the FIFA World Rankings for the first time in their history this year – a feat that few could have even imagined when O’Neill first took the reins.
In 2012, a year after O’Neill took the job, the Northern Irish were ranked 129th in the world, which puts into perspective how far they have come in just five years.
Rangers have to draw an end to their search soon otherwise they risk an uncertain future without a clear long-term plan, but with O’Neill just missing out on taking his nation to the World Cup in Russia next summer, now is the perfect time for the Gers to strike.
In other Rangers news, Chris Sutton has destroyed this midfielder for being the worst signing in Gers history.