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By ESPN Staff

Celtic coach McDowall quits for Rangers

GLASGOW Jan 9 (Reuters) - Celtic's reserve team coach Kenny McDowall quit the club to join Glasgow rivals Rangers on Tuesday in a move reported by local media to be linked with Walter Smith's expected return to Ibrox.

Scotland manager Smith had a request to be relieved of his contract to return to Rangers rejected on Monday following a meeting with the Scottish FA.

However, he and Scotland assistant coach Ally McCoist, a former Rangers striker, are expected to leave the national set up to move back to their old club following the departure of French manager Paul Le Guen last week.

McDowall, 43, steered his side to five successive Scottish Premier League reserve titles having been at Celtic for 10 years. He is the first senior coach to quit to join bitter rivals Rangers.

Maurice Johnston made the controversial move as a player in 1989 when he joined Rangers just weeks after being paraded in a Celtic strip following an agreement to return to the club from French side Olympique Lyon.

McDowall and Johnston formed a strike partnership with Glasgow club Partick Thistle in the early 1980s.

Celtic stated on their website: 'Celtic can confirm that Kenny McDowall will be leaving his position as reserve team coach with immediate effect. The club thanks him for his contribution during his time at Celtic.'