BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
Stuart McCall insists guiding Rangers to the play-off final was an achievement in itself as he rejected any suggestion that his reputation was tarnished at Ibrox.
The 51-year-old was recently replaced by Mark Warburton as manager at the Govan club after his bid to take Rangers back to the Premiership was ended in a 6-1 aggregate decider against Motherwell.
After taking over from Kenny McDowall on March 12, the Scotland coach led Rangers to a third place finish in the Championship before beating Queen of the South and Hibs over two legs to set-up a play-off final with former club Motherwell.
Despite the set-back against the Steelmen, McCall believes he can be proud of what he achieved during his short-stint in the dugout.
McCall, who insists he is keen to return to management as soon as possible, said: “Naturally it was hugely disappointing to lose the play-off final.
“When I first went in, the morale, the belief and the confidence was really low and I think to get to the play-off final was an achievement in itself.
“I was well aware of the situation when I went into Rangers, it was a great opportunity. It was a huge ask and I was really proud of what we managed to do to a certain extent.
“We went 13, 14 games with losing once, we managed to turn over Hibs a couple of times, beat Hearts, beat Queen of the South down there.
“I relished it really. To walk out out at Ibrox with 45-50,000 there every other week was brilliant.
“Up until the last games against Motherwell we couldn’t have done anymore.
“We got to a point where most people didn’t think we would reach and a 20 minute spell of football at home to Motherwell cost us promotion really.
“You can look back at things in life but it’s better to look forward.
“I had a great time there, although short and sweet – but it certainly hasn’t tarnished my reputation I wouldn’t have thought.”
McCall, speaking to Sky Sports, has backed the new management team of Warburton and Davie Weir to lead Rangers to Championship title success this term.
He added: “The proof will be there with the results, they’ve put Mark and Davie in and I wish them all the very best. If the results are right the fans will be there.
“It’s a great time for Mark to go in, it’s a clean slate; he’ll bring a lot of his own new players in and, allied with the good players that are still at the club. I would think they would be strong, strong favourites to win the league.
“I think they’ll do really well, last season everyone thought Rangers would come up and it was going to be between Hearts and Hibs.
“I think this season is going to be a head-to-head with Hibs.”