Advocaat heads for exit door

Rangers 3 Heart of Midlothian 1
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The Rangers manager, Dick Advocaat, finally confirmed yesterday that his three-year tenure as manager at Ibrox is approaching an end. The Dutchman refused to elaborate on who would be his successor and when he would make way, but the indications after this routine victory – which keeps Rangers 12 points behind the Scottish Premier League leaders, Celtic – were that changes would be made sooner rather than later.

It is expected that the former Netherlands coach will move upstairs into a director of football role, allowing a new man to take control of team affairs.

"There will be a new manager but we don't know when," Advocaat said. "I read the newspapers but, as I have said before, we will announce it as soon as possible. People are talking about before Wednesday but it can also be a little later. So we will have to wait until we think we can do it."

Advocaat has already said he intends to remain as manager until the end of the season and is unlikely to change that stance now Rangers are in Europe after Christmas for the first time in eight years. But the search for the new man is understood to be already well underway and the Hibernian manager, Alex McLeish, is the man at the centre of intense media speculation.

Also on the Ibrox shortlist, the Rangers chairman, David Murray, has reportedly confirmed, are the former Germany coach Berti Vogts (who is currently in charge of Kuwait), the Ipswich Town manager, George Burley, and the former Arsenal and Tottenham manager, George Graham.

Rangers had a simple win over Hearts yesterday, achieved through goals from Ronald de Boer, Russell Latapy and Shota Arveladze. Kevin McKenna replied for Hearts, who recovered from being 2-0 down within 20 minutes to stay in contention until the final quarter.

Advocaat, whose side had only returned from European duty early on Friday morning, added: "It was an excellent win after a demanding week."

Goals: De Boer (7) 1-0; Latapy (20) 2-0; McKenna (40) 2-1; Arveladze (70) 3-1.

Rangers: Klos; Wilson, Amoruso, Vidmar, Ross, Ricksen, Latapy, Numan, De Boer (Hughes, 71), Caniggia (N McCann, 73), Arveladze. Substitutes not used: Christiansen (gk), Moore, Flo.

Heart of Midlothian: Niemi; Maybury, Pressley, McKenna (Boyack, 74), Mahé, Flögel, Simmons, Gronlund (Kirk, 85), Webster, Fulton (Wales, 74), Fuller. Substitutes not used: McKenzie (gk), A McCann.

Referee: K Toner.

Man of the match: Arveladze.

Attendance: 47,891.