Dalziel is linked to Raith job

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Gordon Dalziel, the Ayr United manager, remained guarded as his name was linked with the vacancy at Raith Rovers yesterday after their manager, Iain Munro, was dismissed on Monday following a season of turmoil at Stark's Park.

Munro was Raith's fourth manager in 14 months and Alex Penman, the chairman, has put the coaches, Steve Kirk and Miodrag Krivokapic, in charge for the last three games of the season until a successor can be found.

Dalziel, a former goalscoring hero with the Fife club, emerged as an obvious candidate after leading Ayr to the brink of the Second Division title this season. Dalziel moved to Somerset Park in August 1995. However, the former Rangers striker, 35, said yesterday that the first person he would speak to if made an offer by Raith would be his chairman at Ayr, Bill Barr.

"If Raith Rovers came in for me then the first thing I would do is talk to my chairman," Dalziel told Radio Clyde listeners. "He is the first person I would go to on something like that and he is the same with me. I am very honest with him and he's honest with me and we'll see what happens if it arises."

Alex Smith, the former Aberdeen, St Mirren and Clyde manager, could also be in the running. Smith guided St Mirren and Aberdeen to Scottish Cup triumphs and has vast experience. He has been out of work since parting company with Clyde early this season and would be prepared to join Raith under certain conditions with Penman's record of four managers in 14 months hardly attractive to candidates.

Peter Donald, the Scottish League secretary, yesterday declined to rule out an extension to the season for Rangers. Two draws in the Tennents Scottish Cup semi-finals between Celtic and Falkirk and Kilmarnock and Dundee United have given League officials an end-of-season headache.

Rangers could be asked to play three games in six days in the final week of the season unless there is a decision to allow their outstanding fixture away to Dundee United to be played after Saturday, 10 May.

No extension would infuriate the Ibrox club who have played just three fixtures in six weeks after facing Kilmarnock on 22 March, Dunfermline on 5 April and Raith Rovers last night for various reasons including Scotland's World Cup programme.

Yesterday the Scottish League were in discussion with the clubs over the Tannadice fixture, which was due next Wednesday, 23 April, but is now on hold with United facing Kilmarnock in the semi-final replay the previous night.

Rangers play Motherwell at Ibrox on Monday, 5 May, in a match switched because of live coverage by Sky television. They are due at Hearts on Saturday, 10 May, with the Edinburgh club, who wanted that game to be at Murrayfield, already having been told they cannot move it from that date.

So Rangers could have to go to Tannadice on Wednesday, 7 May, or Thursday, 8 May, to play three games in six days with, possibly, their ninth successive championship still in the balance.

Celtic are faced with the prospect of playing three home fixtures in the last week of the season against Hibernian, on Sunday, 4 May, Dundee United the following Saturday, with Kilmarnock sandwiched in between.

United are to lay on free bus transport for their Cup semi- final replay back at Easter Road on Tuesday. Sky, who televised the first meeting, will not be showing the match, opting for the Middlesbrough v Chesterfield FA Cup semi-final replay.