McLeish earns two-week stay of execution at Rangers

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Alex McLeish has been given two weeks to transform the fortunes of his Rangers team. The manager held talks with the chairman David Murray in Edinburgh yesterday, amid speculation that he was set to be sacked following a string of poor results.

Instead, he received Murray's backing ahead of crucial games against Celtic, Porto and Hibernian before his position is reviewed at the start of December.

McLeish has found himself under pressure after Rangers fell 12 points behind Celtic and Hearts in the Scottish Premier League, before the disappointing elimination from the CIS Insurance Cup at Parkhead last week.

The Scottish champions have recorded just two wins from their past 11 matches. But a more successful Champions' League campaign means that Rangers are second in Group H, with a great chance of becoming the first Scottish club to reach the second stage of the competition.

With such a crucial month ahead, Murray weighed up the situation and, following talks with McLeish and the chief executive Martin Bain, decided to give his manager more time - for now.

"After a return from a short break, Alex McLeish, Martin Bain and myself met today in Edinburgh to discuss the club's current situation," Murray said. "Due to speculation, it was important to clarify the outcome of the meeting.

"Although we fully recognise we are going through a difficult period, we collectively felt that the manager should be given the opportunity to improve our overall current performance, given the success of his career thus far. We will review progress at the beginning of December and assess the club's current situation at that time."

McLeish's former Aberdeen and Scotland team-mate, Willie Miller, has praised the way McLeish, who has won seven trophies in four years at Ibrox, has handled the speculation over his future.

"The amount of pressure put on Alex so early in the season has been unbelievable," Miller said. "That doesn't help the situation. He has handled it with dignity. His public face has been fantastic, but his private face has been good as well. He is still demanding a lot from his players. He is still in with a chance of competing in the league title race."