Bett: Ferguson rift was Le Guen's downfall

January 4, 2007

Former Rangers midfielder Jim Bett believes Paul Le Guen's refusal to back down after axing captain Barry Ferguson has cost him his job as Ibrox manager.

The Frenchman today left the Rangers hotseat days after stripping Ferguson of his captaincy and dropping him from the first-team squad.

Bett was shocked at the former Lyon manager's departure which came by mutual agreement after executive chairman Sir David Murray held talks with both parties.

But he believes Murray could not accept losing one of his best players while Rangers sit 17 points behind Celtic in the Bank of Scotland Premier League.

Former Scotland star Bett told PA Sport: 'I thought Le Guen and Barry Ferguson would sort it out themselves.

'I thought David Murray would get the two sitting down. He is in charge, he is the chairman, and it is his choice what happens.

'Obviously he has spoken to Paul and things maybe haven't gone as planned.

'So maybe Paul Le Guen wasn't going to back down and put Barry back in the team.

'It's a difficult one because he has left his best player out and he is going to stick by that and maybe David Murray saw it differently. He probably didn't want to lose him.'

The former Scotland international believes Murray will look closer to home for Le Guen's replacement.

'People are talking about Walter Smith but I don't think he would leave the Scottish team,' said Bett.

'He has been there before and did everything with them.

'He has tried Paul and it has not really worked out. He will maybe look down south to see what's available.

'There is a lack of confidence and quality in the team.

'I saw Rangers up at Aberdeen and even though they did win the game I don't think they played too well.

'The quicker they get someone in the better. Obviously the transfer market is open now. There is a good possibility that they're going to buy - to be honest I think they have to.'

Ferguson's brother believes the Scotland captain will stay at Rangers following Paul Le Guen's exit.

Derek Ferguson, himself a former Rangers player, told Sky Sports News: 'Hopefully he's going to remain a Rangers player and see out the rest of his three-and-a-half-year contract.'

The 28-year-old may not be immediately reinstalled as captain, but his brother said: 'Barry can look back on being a successful captain.

'The most important thing is that Barry is going to remain a Rangers player.'

Fraser Wishart, secretary of the Scottish Professional Footballers' Association and a former Rangers defender himself, has been involved in talks with Ferguson since he was axed from Le Guen's squad.

'I think this is even more remarkable news,' Wishart told Radio Clyde.

'I didn't expect it to come to this.

'I've been involved in chats with Barry. I expected something to be resolved in the next week or so, but for Paul Le Guen to go today is just astonishing news.'

Graham Roberts, who played for Rangers in the 1980s before falling out with manager Graeme Souness, suggested Le Guen would not be out of work for long.

'I've been told he's been lined up to go to Paris St Germain,' Roberts told Sky Sports News.

'Maybe he's instigated his own leaving party.

'For somebody that's been a top coach in Europe he didn't get hold of the Scottish game. He came here, he thought it would be easy, but the Scottish game is not an easy league to play in and he never really got to grips with it.

'Maybe this is his way to leave with his reputation intact still - just leave the club and move on.

'There are rumours going around now that Walter Smith is going to come back and that would be absolutely fantastic for the Rangers supporters.'