Four-man Rangers coaching team start Hibs semi-final preparations

As Rangers close in on appointing a successor to Steven Gerrard, they have assembled a four-man coaching team to take charge of the build-up to Sunday’s Premier Sports Cup semi-final against Hibs at Hampden.

By Stephen Halliday
Monday, 15th November 2021, 3:57 pm
Updated Monday, 15th November 2021, 3:58 pm
Rangers B team head coach David McCallum will take charge of first team training at the Scottish champions until a new manager is appointed. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Rangers B team head coach David McCallum will take charge of first team training at the Scottish champions until a new manager is appointed. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

The club’s B Team manager David McCallum, his assistant Brian Gilmour, first team player-coach Jermain Defoe and first team goalkeeping coach Colin Stewart are overseeing training in the interim period.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst remains the firm favourite to become the new Rangers manager after holding positive talks with the Scottish champions’ sporting director Ross Wilson at the weekend.

The Ibrox club are understood to have two other candidates on their final shortlist with an announcement anticipated before the end of the week. Former Feyenoord head coach van Bronckhorst, a firm favourite with the Rangers support during his successful three-year spell as a player for the club from 1998 to 2001, is in pole position to land the job.

Veteran former England striker Jermain Defoe was appointed as a player-coach by Rangers when the Ibrox club gave him a new one-year contract last summer. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

The international break has given Rangers a degree of breathing space in securing a replacement for Gerrard who left them last Thursday to take charge of Aston Villa.

But around a dozen first team players have not been on international duty and the preparations for the semi-final against Hibs began in earnest on Monday when they reported to the training ground.

With Gerrard having taken the bulk of his backroom staff with him to Villa, it is McCallum who has been asked to temporarily lead first team operations.

The 44-year-old, a boyhood Rangers supporter who grew up idolising the club’s legendary winger Davie Cooper, joined their academy coaching staff in 2015.

McCallum, a former Motherwell, Stirling Albion, Partick Thistle and Queen’s Park defender whose playing career was cut short by a serious knee injury at the age of 26, was appointed as the Rangers B team manager at the start of this season.

In their first campaign in the Lowland League, the Rangers B team are currently third in the table while McCallum has also guided them to the quarter-finals of the SPFL Trust Trophy.

His assistant Gilmour, 34, began his playing career at Rangers but failed to make the first team breakthrough before moving to Clyde in 2007.

After a far-travelled career, which included spells in Finland and Iceland, Gilmour moved into coaching at the Rangers academy on a part-time basis in 2017 before being promoted to a full-time role with the club’s B team earlier this year.

Former England striker Defoe has made just one appearance for Rangers this season as a substitute in their 1-0 defeat to Dundee United at Tannadice in August.

The 39-year-old was given a new one-year contract in the summer and added to the first team coaching staff under Gerrard, although he has not been a visible presence on match days in recent weeks. Defoe could be a candidate for a more significant role on the coaching staff of the new Rangers manager.

Goalkeeping coach Stewart, 41, joined Rangers academy set-up in 2015 before being promoted to the first team backroom staff two years later. The son of former Rangers and Scotland ‘keeper Jim Stewart, he is likely to retain his current role under the incoming manager.

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