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Nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide for Le Guen
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IT was an infamous cup defeat at home to First Division opponents that ended the managerial reign of John Barnes at Celtic back in 1999.
There was no way the Liverpool and England great could remain in the Parkhead hot seat after losing 3-1 to lowly Inverness Caley Thistle.
Now, seven years on, an almost identical result could bring to a close the tenure of Paul Le Guen across the city at Rangers.
The French coach has vowed to fight on in the wake of his team's hugely embarrassing 2-0 loss to St Johnstone at a stunned Ibrox last night.
And the chances are, given his team's success in the Uefa Cup, he will be given some time to try and turn around the fortunes of the Glasgow institution.
However, the ever-dignified former Lyon coach is wearing the look of a man who is well aware that chances are rapidly running out for him.
If the Gers lose, or even draw, with bottom-placed Dunfermline at their own ground in the SPL on Saturday, there will simply be nowhere for him to turn.
Before last night's match, the majority of the fans' anger at the alarming state of affairs at Rangers had been directed at chairman David Murray.
Having seen their club spend a paltry £4million on players in the summer, they felt it was Murray, and not his new manager, who was to blame.
The millionaire businessman, and his cohorts on the Ibrox board, certainly came in for more abuse during, and then after, this latest humiliation.
Yet, Le Guen himself could not escape their ire on this occasion - and rightly so.
His team selection, highly questionable tactics and new signings all played a part in one of the worst, if not THE worst, defeats in Rangers' history.
Having lost two goals to set-pieces in the 2-1 defeat at Dundee United on Sunday, the manager stuck stubbornly with the same rearguard.
That was despite the fact that in Karl Svensson he had a specialist centre-half on the bench itching to get a chance against lower league opposition.
How Rangers needed a player with Svensson's presence and aerial ability to take control of the corner that led to the Saints' first goal in 51 minutes.
Brahim Hemdani is clearly uncomfortable in that pivotal role and, along with Sasa Papac, was found lacking on that occasion and several others.
Certainly, he was left for dead by Stevie Milne, who had opened the scoring with an acrobatic overhead kick, midway through the second half.
Milne, who could have scored four or five was it not for the fine keeping of Allan McGregor, had the easiest of tasks stroking the ball into the net in 68 minutes.
Surely Hemdani would have been better deployed in midfield, where he has excelled on several occasions this season, alongside Jeremy Clement?
Instead, Le Guen decided to play Gavin Rae, who has started just one match and made three appearances as a late substitute in the campaign, in place of injured skipper Barry Ferguson.
The Rangers side was crying out for a player of Hemdani's quality, creativity and experience to stamp his authority on proceedings in the centre of the park.
Alan Hutton remained at right-back, at the expense of Man United loan star Phil Bardsley, and had another woefully below-par display.
Le Guen went with Filip Sebo and Kris Boyd up front and started with Nacho Novo and Thomas Buffel on the flanks.
Sebo did next to nothing to justify being given a rare start or, for that matter, the £1.8m he cost from Austria Vienna.
The evening kicked off with a minute's applause to celebrate the life of former Rangers captain Bobby Shearer, who sadly passed away this week.
Quite what Captain Cutlass, who exemplified the fighting spirit associated with Rangers, would have made of such a gutless, clueless performance, does not bear thinking about.
Rangers: McGregor, Hutton, Hemdani, Papac, Smith, Novo, Rae (Adam 70), Clement, Buffel (Martin 55), Sebo (Prso 54), Boyd. Subs not used: Klos, Svensson.
St Johnstone: Halliwell, Lawrie, McManus, Anderson, Stanic, Mensing, Lawson, Hardie (Sheridan 90), Sheerin, Scotland (MacDonald 84), Milne. Subs not used: Cuthbert, Jackson, Dyer.
Attendance: 31,074.

Publication date 09/11/06