McLeish to leave Rangers with head held high

May 6, 2006

Alex McLeish will bring down the curtain on four and a half years at Rangers when they take on Hearts in the last match of the season on Sunday.

And he insists he will walk away from Ibrox with no regrets.

The McLeish era at Rangers will be remembered for the incredible highs of winning the treble, two final-day championship triumphs and becoming the first Scottish club to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

There were also the crushing lows this season when the worst run of results in the club`s history almost cost McLeish his job, before finally being forced to settle for third place in the Bank of Scotland Premier League.

But it was a job he has relished.

'There is no bitterness or regret,' said McLeish. 'It was a challenge I grabbed with both hands when I was offered it.

'I said there would be tough times but if you had said to me that I would last four and a half years, I wouldn`t have believed you.

'To last that long at a club like this you`re doing something right.

'It`s a tremendous job and it`s been a great privilege to have managed Rangers, it`s a fantastic club.

'I know the people who leave the club always miss it and never find a better place.'

And his memories of his time at Rangers?

'There`s too many. Walking up the marble staircase on my introduction as Rangers manager will live with me forever because I was living the dream.

'I thought `Nobody can take that away from me. I hope I last more than a week'.

'Any top club is challenging. In terms of Rangers, with the downsizing and still bringing success, I`m proud of that.'

McLeish will make way for Paul Le Guen this summer and his advice to his successor is simple.

'Don`t get injuries and don`t get suspensions. When you lose your best players it can become tough,' admitted the outgoing Gers boss.

'This season has been very, very difficult with the amount of injuries incurred to top players during the first half of the season which does make it difficult for you on all fronts.

'But we qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, which I think was a good achievement.'

Le Guen will be handed a healthy transfer kitty as he attempts to rebuild the squad and McLeish can only wonder what he might have achieved at Rangers with similar funds.

He said: 'It would have been interesting because over the years there have been many, many targets we would have liked to have seen here but it was just not possible.'