On This Day in 2007: Paul Le Guen quits as Rangers manager

Soccer – Bank of Scotland Premier League – Falkirk v Rangers – Falkirk Stadium
(Image credit: Chris Clark)

Paul Le Guen’s seven-month spell in charge of Rangers came to an end on this day in 2007 after the Frenchman walked out on the club.

It had been a tumultuous 72 hours leading up to Le Guen’s exit, which started when the manager stripped Barry Ferguson of the captaincy and dropped him for the trip to Motherwell.

Le Guen then suggested there was little chance of the Scotland skipper playing for Rangers again under his management, having been upset at what he believed was an attempt to exert undue influence on the rest of the squad.

Barry Ferguson

A falling-out with captain Barry Ferguson, pictured, left Le Guen facing the exit (Chris Clark/PA)

The club’s supporters, loyal to long-time servant Ferguson rather than the former Lyon boss, sang Ferguson’s name throughout the Motherwell match.

Following his departure, Le Guen said: “I am disappointed to leave the club, but I think it is the best solution for all concerned. I would like to thank all the people who helped me and my team during my spell in Scotland.

“In particular I would like to thank the directors who at all times gave me their total support.”

The Rangers board did indeed back Le Guen, who arrived after winning three straight Ligue 1 titles as part of Lyon’s run of seven in a row.

The 42-year-old was handed a three-year contract and afforded funds to mould a team capable of challenging Celtic’s supremacy in the Bank of Scotland Premier League but his signings were largely unimpressive and there was scant improvement in performances, demonstrated by two defeats to Inverness and a cup capitulation to then First Division outfit St Johnstone.

Walter Smith

Walter Smith returned as manager but could not bridge the gap to Celtic (Lynne Cameron/PA)

They sat 17 points adrift of Celtic at the time of Le Guen’s resignation, with Walter Smith taking the reins for a second time on a permanent basis a week later.

Under Smith, Rangers finished 12 points behind 2007-08 champions Celtic.

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