Can Cathro And Magath Be The New Dream Team At Rangers?


It gets a bit weary writing about all the troubles and strife that continually engulfs Ibrox at the moment. It’s also nice to take a look at speculation and let your imagination take hold.

So to make it clear from the start, I am not ‘in the know’, what follows is just based on a few stories that have been doing the rounds recently and what ‘could’ happen if the boardroom war can finally be won by one party or another.

As of last week, Valencia assistant manager Ian Cathro has been linked with the Rangers hotseat.

Many have questioned why the up and coming coach would be interested in entertaining a move back to Scotland, especially with Rangers in there current predicament.

Well it’s simple, he’s a highly ambitious creature and being a number one is his main goal. He has previously stated…

“I want to manage and I want to do it as quickly as possible.”

At twenty-eight years of age many will scoff at Cathro’s experience and chances of succeeding or even getting the job in Govan. But that could be a shortsighted view of things.

Portugal could hold a view of things that could happen for Ian Cathro, he spent two seasons helping Nuno Espírito Santo achieve great success at lowly Rio Ave before the duo arrived in La Liga helping Valencia challenge for a Champions League spot.

Now if we go back to Portugal, two young Portuguese maverick coaches spring to mind that could come as inspiration for any young would be head-coach. The ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho was only 37 when he took up the reigns at Benfica in 2000. While his own protege Andre Villas Boas was 34 when he had his golden season in charge of FC Porto, winning a treble in 2011.

As i’ve said Cathro’s determination to succeed in management has taken him to Portugal and Spain, along the way he’s adapted his coaching style and learned Portuguese (he’s currently learning Spanish). His choice to leave a role with the SFA and go abroad was a bold one and showed his willingness to learn his craft.

So you can bet your bottom dollar that when he chooses to become his own man in a managers job that he’ll be ready as it’s been what everything else before hand has been leading up to.

To some, this idea that a man in his late twenties taking up a managers job would seem to typify arrogance and confidence. But look around at all the top managers they usually are arrogant/confident/cocky. Again a prime example of this is Jose Mourinho. To succeed at Rangers during this era you need ‘big cojones’.

His reputation in Scotland is built on his success in improving young Scottish players at Dundee United. He played a big role in bringing Ryan Gauld through the ranks at United, Gauld is now in Portugal trying to make his way at Sporting Lisbon. After making his big switch to Sporting, Ryan said this about his mentor Cathro…

“He (Ian Cathro) was always saying that you need to see not just the pass that you are going to play but when that person receives the ball, think of what they can do with it, so thinking of the second and the third pass.”

That shows where Cathro succeeds whilst many Scottish coaches don’t. He is a forward thinker and knows the importance of technique. His willingness to trust younger players is also commendable and could help Rangers at this moment in time, when large transfer fees cannot be afforded. Another bonus could be that Cathro has vast knowledge of Scotland’s youth set-ups and now has contacts in Portugal and Spain too. The club the size of Rangers really should have a better scouting network at their disposal.

Would his appointment represent a risk? Of course, every managerial change represents a huge risk. But the chance of possibly unearthing Scotland’s own ‘Mourinho’ could prove extremely tempting, for whomever is in charge in the boardroom come the time a decision needs to be made.

Maybe just maybe some outside the box thinking is just what is needed at Ibrox at the moment. Plus it could help temper expectations that Cathro isn’t seen as a Rangers man.

If Rangers were to go down the road of bringing in such an inexperienced manager, fans and board fears could be allayed if they bring in a veteran who can oversee the general running of football activities at the club.

That takes me to the second piece of newspaper speculation that we’ve seen over the past week, that respected German coach Felix Magath could be in line for a technical directors role with Glasgow’s blue half.

At sixty-one Magath could be ready for a different duty rather than being on the coalface of first-team coaching. At ‘Gers’ he would overview the coaching of the developmental/youth squads. Plus he’d make sure that a proper scouting set-up would be in place. His knowledge of the German market could be invaluable in the long run.

Yes Magath’s reputation has been bruised by his time at Fulham, although we have to remember he took over a sinking ship. That dalliance in England doesn’t overshadow his time in the Bundesliga where he won three Bundesliga titles (twice with Bayern Munich and once with VFL Wolfsburg). It’s worth noting that at Wolfsburg and Schalke 04, Felix combined the roles of first-team coach and director of football. So the intelligent football man has experience in a administrative role.

His work ethic and overall insight could be hugely beneficial to both the club and possibly the next manager. The fact that Magath has put £200k of his of money into buying Rangers shares shows that he is committed to the cause.

When you think of putting Magath’s principles into place at the heart of the club and add in the possible youthful exuberance and confidence of Ian Cathro, then you can see why some amongst the Rangers fraternity could be drooling at the prospect of a new era blossoming at Ibrox.

But this is where I bring everyone back down to earth with a bit of a bump.

The Rangers boardroom saga still seems to be someway off from being sorted and whilst that sideshow rumbles on then chances are Rangers and their fans will never be allowed to look forward and dream.

We also need to see a conclusion to the Ally McCoist situation. I wouldn’t be overly shocked to see McCoist return as head coach if the ‘Three Bears’ consortium (Douglas Park, George Taylor and George Letham) and Dave King takeover the running of the club.

So as you see this whole blog post might just be pie in the sky.

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