Ally McCoist: Rangers manager leaves club & on gardening leave

Kenny McDowall and Ally McCoist
McDowall (left) will take charge of the Rangers first team following McCoist's departure

Ally McCoist has left his position as Rangers manager and the Scottish Championship club say he is now "on gardening leave".

The 52-year-old handed in his resignation earlier this month and had started his 12-month notice period.

McCoist remained in charge of the team for the defeat by Queen of the South and Saturday's win against Livingston.

"Assistant manager Kenny McDowall will take over his duties until the end of the season," a Rangers statement read.

"We would like to thank Ally for all his hard work and dedication over the last few years, but we feel it is now in the best interests of all parties to move on."

McCoist, who had been in charge at Rangers since the summer of 2011, was called to a meeting at Ibrox on Sunday by chief executive Derek Llambias and chairman of the football board Sandy Easdale.

He was told it would be best for the club if he stood down and was placed on gardening leave. The search for a new manager is under way but McDowall will take charge of the side in the meantime.

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Rangers are nine points behind Scottish Championship leaders Hearts and the Tynecastle side can extend their lead to 12 points if they beat Cowdenbeath on Tuesday.

Pressure on the Ibrox boss intensified after a surprise 3-2 defeat by part-timers Alloa Athletic in the Petrofac Training Cup semi-final and, following the defeat by Queens, the manager admitted Hearts were now "strong favourites" for the Championship title and automatic promotion.

McCoist was believed to have become alarmed at the number of staff losing their jobs at the club.

Bellshill-born McCoist was a Rangers player for 15 years as well as playing for St Johnstone, Sunderland, Kilmarnock and Scotland, for whom he won 61 caps.

He had been assistant manager at Ibrox under Walter Smith and stepped up as his successor while Rangers were still in the Scottish Premier League.

Administration and subsequent liquidation of the former company that ran the club resulted in Rangers playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football.

A high turnover of players ensued in 2012 and McCoist led the side to two consecutive league titles to get Rangers into this season's Championship.

And, following the recent losses to Queen of the South and Hearts and confirmation of his resignation, McCoist said he was "not sure" whether he would attend Monday's annual general meeting at Ibrox.

Former St Mirren player McDowall joined Rangers as first-team coach under Smith in 2007 and was promoted to assistant manager when McCoist became manager.

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