Rangers are on the verge of embarking on a hunt to find themselves a new manager after it became clear that Steven Gerrard could leave Ibrox in the coming days.
Gerrard has done a wonderful job in Glasgow but it would appear as though his journey in Scotland is concluding.
He has been linked with the Aston Villa job this week and he’s now believed to be close to taking on that role.
It would be a hefty blow to the club to lose him judging by the Premiership crown they sealed last term, but their hunt to find a successor should be an exciting one.
A man who could arrive north of the border is Dean Smith, the coach who Gerrard is set to replace in the Midlands.
Ally McCoist was asked on talkSPORT (via Ibrox News) this week if the 50-year-old would be a good choice by Ross Wilson and co, to which he responded: “I really like Dean Smith, I do, yes. I think he’s a good coach and a good manager. I would not have a problem with him being at my club.”
Those sentiments were agreed with by journalist Stuart Hodge, who told GIVEMESPORT: “I think Ally’s quite right to say he would take Dean Smith. He would be a brilliant appointment for Rangers.”
Tim Sherwood suggested after Smith’s sacking from Villa that his reputation had been “tarnished” as a result. Despite that, it’s difficult to suggest that another mooted target, Russell Martin, would be a better appointment, especially when you consider his lack of experience at the top level.
Although an impressive modern coach, to date he has only taken charge of MK Dons and Swansea City in English Football League.
It is undoubtedly true that Smith’s stock has fallen somewhat but he is still a top-drawer manager, someone who could answer the call of Rangers and continue on the great success that Gerrard has installed at Ibrox.
Of course, the ex-Villa boss had his former employers scrambling towards the bottom end of the Premier League this term, but it’s hard to ignore what he achieved in the second city.
He joined the club in the Championship when they were heading towards mid-table mediocrity.
However, Smith achieved what Villa CEO, Christian Purslow, described as “excellent.” He somehow won promotion in that same season with the club, embarking on an unbeaten run that culminated in them winning the play-off final.
He then steered them to 11th in the top-flight of English football last term, just seven points off European football.
That was a stunning accomplishment given where the Villans were only a few years previously.
Supporters may understandably be concerned by his recent ejection from the Villa Park dugout but he has plenty of qualities that would make him a sufficient replacement for Gerrard.
His philosophy revolves around allowing players room to thrive in the final third, something a team that dominate games as much as Rangers would certainly be craving. Speaking to Sky Sports, Smith said:
“I want players to go and express themselves, and give them options for what they can do, but also give them ownership of their game. There’s no right or wrong in the way the game is played.
For individuals like Alfredo Morelos, Kemar Roofe and Ryan Kent, therefore, his appointment would surely be welcomed.
However, for those who prefer a little bit of extra one-to-one time, it would also be beneficial.
“I’ve always said that my role is to make players better; not just as players but as people as well, if I can. I want to help them on their path, on their journey,” Smith once commented.
“I’ve always believed that if you’re helping individuals to improve, naturally the team is going to improve. That’s been at the forefront of my mind all the time, and to do that you have to create relationships with the players you’re working with, because you have to get the best out of them,” he continued.
If he can instil those values at Ibrox then he’d undoubtedly be an excellent choice for Gerrard. There are still some unanswered questions with Smith but it feels as though his future in the game is still incredibly bright.