IT is football's classic chicken-and-egg scenario. Which comes first - the director of football or the head coach? And which, ultimately, rules the roost?

News this week that Rangers were in the market for a director of football and head coach, in addition perhaps to an alternative interim manager, has provoked some closer examination of the mechanics of a structure which has so often been met with derision in Scotland in the past.

From Jock Stein to Sir Alex Ferguson, Jim McLean to Walter Smith, and Martin O'Neill to Brendan Rodgers, Scotland's most successful club managers have tended to take a holistic view of football management, their tentacles stretching out and controlling every aspect of their clubs. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing absolutely everything yourself.

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Just perhaps, though, Scotland is finally catching up with the rest of the continent in this regard. Not only is our own Ross Wilson excelling in the position as he works with Les Reed to help keep Southampton ticking smoothly onward in the Barclays Premier League while top class head coaches like Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman come and go, Craig Levein has successfully pioneered the approach in the Scottish Premiership.

Perhaps that is why Robbie Neilson, now working at MK Dons after a successful spell as head coach at Tynecastle under Levein's stewardship at Hearts, last night recommended that the Ibrox side go ahead with their plans to implement a similar structure - assuming that is, they appoint the director of football first and he has his say over the appointment of the head coach, rather than the other way around.

Rangers will leave caretaker boss Graeme Murty in charge for this week's visit to Dundee, but Neilson's comments tallied perfectly with those of Gordon Smith - whose chances in the post in the early days of the Craig Whyte era at Rangers weren't exactly helped by the fact that he came in at a time when the football department was functioning smoothly enough with Ally McCoist as manager.

"The most important thing is that the director of football goes in first - then they should look to get the manager in off the back of that," said Neilson. "That's the easiest transition, in my opinion.

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"The director of football has to be the one who comes in and appoints the manager," he added. "If it works the other way about, you can end up with issues about who is in control. It can cause a bit of friction."

"But I think it's a great idea for Rangers to go down that route. They are a huge club and this set-up would give them more of a structure to their football operation and make it easier to develop.

"Football has changed. Clubs are huge operations now so there has to be levels throughout them to make sure the different parts of the organisation are looked after. We've moved on from the days when one person could make a decision on behalf of the whole club. There's too much money at stake."

"It works - provided everyone involved in the club is willing to get behind it," said Smith said in a radio interview earlier this week. "If it's something that comes in from the higher echelon then there's more chance of it working. When I went in six years ago, there was no, I would say, good feeling about it in terms of the people that were already there. They didn't think it was required and I found it very difficult to do my job even in terms of the reports I had done, the changes that needed made.

"The person who goes into that job actually has to operate the strategy of the club," he added. "I was trying to put a strategy in place at that time that was uniform and that everyone could adhere to but I had difficulties with it."