Malpas ready to replace Sturrock at Tannadice

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The Independent Online

Paul Sturrock yesterday became the first casualty of the Scottish season when he resigned from his managerial post at Dundee United after defeats in their first two matches left them bottom of the Premier League.

Paul Sturrock yesterday became the first casualty of the Scottish season when he resigned from his managerial post at Dundee United after defeats in their first two matches left them bottom of the Premier League.

Sturrock's link with United stretches back to 1973, when he signed for the club from the junior side Bankfoot before enjoying a successful career as a player. United won the Scottish Cup in 1980 when they beat Aberdeen 3-0 in a replay and Sturrock scored twice in the 3-0 defeat of their neighbours, Dundee, in the same competition a year later. He later earned his first cap for Scotland although he tasted the disappointment of defeat in the Scottish Cup final in 1981.

Later the same year Sturrock was one of the goalscorers in a remarkable 5-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach in a Uefa Cup tie after losing the first leg 2-0. In 1983, he inspired the Tangerines to their one and only top-flight Championship title - the peak of his career at Tannadice.

The recently retired Maurice Malpas, who is coaching at the club, is likely to be among the front-runners for the vacancy and the club could consider the former Dundee manager, Jocky Scott, now at Notts County.

The Kilmarnock manager, Bobby Williamson, could have been forgiven for feeling like giving up after watching his side surrender a winning position against Rangers after the first-half dismissal of Kevin McGowne.

Leading 2-0 on Saturday through an Andy McLaren double, Kilmarnock looked on course for a victory over the champions until the referee, Tom Brown, booked McGowne for a second booking for a foul on Rod Wallace. Once reduced to 10 men, Kilmarnock were always on the retreat and a Billy Dodds double and goals by Kenny Miller and Tugay Kerimoglu sealed a 4-2 victory for Rangers.

Williamson said: "I didn't think the referee was going to take any action against Kevin McGowne before a couple of Rangers players got involved. That was disappointing because it came at a time when we were playing quite well. We were 2-0 up and it could have been more, so quite a few of our players were upset by it. It seems very easy for referees to send off Kilmarnock players, but not Old Firm players. I think it's disappointing that referees cannot be stronger."

Williamson was known to be unhappy at a first-half incident near the touchline in which it appeared that Rangers' Claudio Reyna kicked Andy McLaren in the back. He added: "Last season Lorenzo Amoruso kicked Michael Jeffrey and was not sent off, but Martin Baker was red-carded for next-to-nothing at Parkhead. I'm not irate or angry, but I'm disappointed."

The Rangers manager, Dick Advocaat, launched into his defence where the centre-back pairing of Bert Konterman and Amoruso looked uncertain. With the Ibrox outfit due to face Herfolge in Denmark on Wednesday in a Champions' League third qualifying round first leg, Advocaat was unable to hide his concerns. He said: "You saw the way we played in the first-half and gave the goals away. You don't see that in amateur football."

Dundee's striker Fabian Caballero looks set to make a big impact this season if his first two performances are anything to go by. The Argentinian has been outstanding in his side's opening two victories which propelled them to the top of the League by Saturday night.

He is part of a new striking double act alongside his compatriot Juan Sara, and both scored in Dundee's comfortable 3-0 win over Dunfermline. Caballero said he and Sara can form a good partnership: "The fact that he's Argentinian helps a great deal not only because we can communicate freely but we understand each other tactically."

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