Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been sacked by Rangers after one year in charge at Ibrox.
Rangers are nine points behind leaders Celtic in the Scottish Premiership and also endured a sobering Champions League campaign which saw the club lose all six group-stage matches, a run which included a 7-1 hammering by Liverpool at home.
Van Bronckhorst – who signed a three-and-a-half-year deal to replace Steven Gerrard last November – becomes one of the shortest-serving permanent managers in the club’s history, with only Pedro Caixinha and Paul Le Guen departing sooner.
The Scottish Premiership is now on hold for the World Cup, with Rangers’ next game against Hibernian at Ibrox on December 15, live on Sky Sports.
‘Results and performances haven’t met expectations’
A Rangers statement read: “Rangers Football Club confirms today it has parted company with manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst. The board would like to put on record sincere thanks to Gio for all his efforts since his appointment as manager.
“Arriving at the club just over a year ago, Gio led the club to a fifth European final and won the Scottish Cup last May. He also led the team to the club’s first Champions League qualification in 12 years.
“Unfortunately, results and performances over recent months haven’t met expectations and the decision was made today by the board to terminate the contract of the manager.
“The search for the new manager is now under way.”
Chairman Douglas Park said: “I want to thank Gio for the hard work he has put in over the last 12 months and, especially, the achievements of taking the club to the Europa League final and winning the Scottish Cup last season.
“Unfortunately, recent results have not met neither our nor Gio’s expectations, and we have taken this difficult decision today. Everyone at Rangers wishes Gio every success in the future.”
Gio’s reign ranks third-shortest on the all-time list
Among permanent Rangers managers, only Pedro Caixinha and Paul Le Guen have had shorter reigns at the club
Who could replace Van Bronckhorst at Rangers?
Former Rangers striker Kris Boyd on Sky Sports News:
“I wouldn’t rule out anybody whether it’s big names starting their managerial career in Steven Gerrard or whether it’s managers trying to rebuild their reputation in Brendan Rodgers at Celtic.
“There is no doubt Rangers can’t afford the Premier League wages that people like Sean Dyche and Ralph Hasenhuttl were on but there’s a special attraction to both clubs in Scotland.
“I think the obvious one at this moment in time would be Michael Beale. He’s someone who turned down the Wolves job and the Rangers fans, for what he’s done under Gerrard, they remember that and were extremely proud that he was part of that team that delivered 55 for the club.There’s an obvious connection there but whether he wants to move on from QPR, we don’t know, but he will definitely be someone who’s in the running.
“Sean Dyche would want to rule the dressing room, manage it properly so when you look at the players and the discipline on and off the field has not been great. There is no doubt that whoever gets the job there are a few people who need to boot up the backside to get going again.
“Michael Beale is a fantastic coach who’s doing well at QPR but you’ve got Sean Dyche with the discipline side key to how he works, so it’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.”
Van Bronckhorst’s sacking was perhaps inevitable after Rangers’ draw at St Mirren two weeks ago.
With the club facing an uphill task to overhaul Celtic’s nine-point lead in the Scottish Premiership, and no European football to look forward to after the World Cup break following a woeful Champions League campaign, Rangers are searching for a new manager.
Whoever takes over will have plenty to think about before Rangers return to action against Hibernian live on Sky Sports on December 15.
Chris Boyd analyzes what went wrong for Rangers and the Dutchman on the following issues:
- Recruitment regression
- European embarrassment
- Fans’ frustration
- Injury impact
Domestic league form cost job
Sky Sports’ Allan Valente:
The Dutchman was brought in to replace the Aston Villa-bound Steven Gerrard in November 2021 but the Rangers board has made the decision to bring the curtain down on his short reign in Govan after his side slipped nine points behind champions Celtic before the break for the World Cup.
Van Bronckhorst led Rangers to their first Scottish Cup win in 13 years after a 2-0 victory over Hearts at Hampden in May, just three days after an agonizing penalty shootout loss to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League final.
Rangers’ spectacular run to the final of the showpiece event in Seville will be a highlight of Van Bronckhorst’s time in charge but it is his domestic league form and record which has ultimately cost him his job in Glasgow.
Rangers were six points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership going into Christmas last season before a dramatic downturn in form, especially away from Ibrox, saw Celtic ease to the title in Ange Postecoglou’s first season in charge.
Indeed, it was a 3-0 humiliation in the re-arranged New Year’s fixture at Parkhead in February which set the tone for the rest of Rangers’ league campaign, despite overcoming the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Braga and RB Leipzig on their way to the Europa League final.
Recruitment over the summer was mixed, with Calvin Bassey and Joe Aribo, two hugely important players over the past 18 months for Rangers, leaving, with a number of key starters, including new signings Tom Lawrence and Ben Davies, and ever-present vice- captain Connor Goldson, succumbing to injuries early in the season.
Alfredo Morelos was left out of the Rangers squad to face PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League qualifiers due to fitness and attitude concerns in the early stage of season and has struggled for game time since being reintegrated into the squad, while the likes of Ryan Kent and captain James Tavernier have failed to replicate last season’s European performances following a grueling campaign.
Van Bronckhorst did lead Rangers to the Champions League group stage for the first time in more than a decade in August but the feel-good factor around being back at European football’s top table was brief, with a 4-0 loss away to Ajax in their opening match day coming off the back of another heavy defeat at Parkhead by the same scoreline.
Indeed, a clean sweep of defeats in the competition, including an embarrassing 7-1 loss to Liverpool at Ibrox ensured Rangers set a new record for the worst group-stage performance in the history of the competition.
Van Bronckhorst could point to injuries and a mixed recruitment drive over the summer but poor performances, which led to dropped points in recent weeks against Livingston, St Johnstone and St Mirren, were met with derision from Rangers supporters in the stands and his position had come under severe scrutiny in recent weeks.
December 15: Hibernian (h), Scottish Premiership, kick off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
December 20: Aberdeen (a), Scottish Premiership, kick off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
December 23: Ross County (a), Scottish Premiership, kick off 7.30pm, live on Sky Sports
December 28: Motherwell (h), Scottish Premiership, kick off 7.45pm
January 2: Celtic (h), Scottish Premiership, kick off 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports
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