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Why Rangers must ditch CEO search for now as Ibrox club told to get priorities right

Rangers have been told to forget about finding a new CEO for now and concentrate on the most important thing - signing players.

It was already going to be a pivotal summer for the Ibrox men with Philippe Clement admitting he needs to do a lot of work on reshaping his squad for the 2024/25 campaign after falling short in the Premiership and Scottish Cup. So when the shock news of James Bisgrove moving on filtered through, it became even bigger.

There will likely be a number of candidates for one of the biggest jobs in Scottish football but Gordon Smith has told them that's not the priority right now. The former Gers striker, also briefly director of football, insists it's imperative they get their on-pitch recruitment correct first and foremost.

He told the Daily Record: “There’s a few people in Scotland who might make good candidates for the chief executive job but the main priority for the next few weeks isn’t hiring a CEO, it’s hiring the right players. Rangers need to get the recruitment right because over the last two years, I don’t think they’ve done that. They need to improve on that record and look at the positions which are key.

“I’m pleased to see Leon Balogun getting a new deal because I’ve been saying for a while that I thought he should have been played more regularly, I know he’s getting on a bit now at 35 but he’s a player I like and I actually think that beside Ben Davies, they look a decent pairing. But Rangers definitely require another quality centre-back this summer.

“Midfield is a key issue too, especially the centre, as is the attack, with at least a couple of strikers required. Through the heart of this team, Rangers need players who can control games and compete at a higher level. It’s a big job. Rangers need to bring in a level of player who are at least as good as the one’s Celtic have which won’t be easy. That’s why they need to get it right.”

On Bisgrove's resignation, he added: “It was quite a shock to see Bisgrove announce he was leaving. James had only been in the job a short time having been in the commercial director’s role before that. I really think they need to get someone in now who has a bit of football experience at that level.

“The mark of a good chief exec is someone who can look at all the different departments within the club, analyse what’s required and decide whether the people who are in the jobs are efficient at the tasks asked of them. So the new man coming in is going to have to come in and take a look at the recruitment departments, the scouting, the coaching side, the medical and youth development aspects, the commercial operation and the finance.

“But I do believe that football is such a unique business that you really need to have a track record of working within the game. Some people working in other industries get totally taken aback when they step into football. Many think they can come in and make all the key decisions but football is a team game on the pitch and it’s like that off it too. The manager is the man who has the overview and works out what each player brings to the team.

“It’s the same at the chief exec level too. That’s what I was hoping to do when I went back to Rangers in 2011, albeit in a slightly different job as director of football. I was hoping to go in, carry out an analysis of all the departments and see where we could make improvements. Unfortunately I never got the chance to do that because the finances went, well, tits up for the want of a better word. Whoever Rangers appoint must quickly analyse where improvements are made and be able to persuade the board to back them.”