A FAVOURITE phrase of Ally McCoist’s has popped into Lee McCulloch’s head in recent days as speculation over who Rangers will appoint as their new manager has continued unabated and new contenders for the vacant position have emerged.

“Ally used to say there was a graveyard outside of Ibrox full of international players who couldn’t wear the jersey,” he said.

For McCulloch, whose first foray into management with Kilmarnock ended with him departing the Rugby Park club after less than a year in charge last month, exactly the same thing applies to the man who occupies the dugout at his former club.

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Some famous names – Sam Allardyce, Frank de Boer, Steve McLaren, Alan Pardew, Gus Poyet, Michel Preud’homme and Giovanni van Bronkhorst – have been linked with the vacancy since Pedro Caixinha was sacked a fortnight ago.

Yet, McCulloch feels that nothing can prepare a manager, no matter how experienced he is, regardless of what level he has worked at in the past, for the unique and intense demands of working at Rangers.

Which is why he, like so many others in the game, believes that Derek McInnes, the Aberdeen manager who spent five years at Ibrox as a player, is best equipped to deal with the challenge.

“It’s a massive thing knowing the club and that’s why Derek is the perfect fit,” he said. “I know from my own experience as a player how it feels to come up to a club like Rangers from the Premier League in England. The pressure and the expectations were like no other club I had seen.

“I can’t talk for Manchester United or Chelsea or clubs like that, but the demands up here are massive. There’s a few in for it. The likes of McClaren and Pardew have been men-tioned, but obviously the main contender is McInnes. He would be my choice.

“He knows the club, he’s played for the club and he knows the standards of the club. It’s a very important thing. If you look at where he’s taken Aberdeen from, to where they are now and the way he has recruited over that time, in my opinion he is the perfect fit.”

Asked if leading managers could struggle to adapt in the same way that top players have done over the years, McCulloch said: “Probably, because of the demands which come with having to get results. What style do you want to play to get those results? Is it all about results or is it about entertaining the fans as well? It’s a hard, hard job.”

McCulloch revealed that he forged a good relationship with Caixinha during the Portuguese coach’s seven month spell in Scotland and refused to criticise the Rangers board for making such a left field appointment.

The 39-year-old, though, reckons it is imperative that the Ibrox directors err on the side of caution after disappointing ends to the Mark Warburton and Caixinha reigns.

“Pedro was alright,” he said. “He was on the phone quite a lot. He helped me a fair bit and we spoke about different things. It didn’t work out for him, but it just shows you the kind of man he was.”

“I think Mark Warburton took the club forward. He had a style and a playing philosophy from the youth department right up to the first team, which was something the club had never really had before. Fair play to the board for thinking outside of the box when Mark left. But it didn’t work.

”So now the important thing is get someone in who is tried and tested and who knows the club inside out. For me, and I’m not his agent, Derek McInnes is the perfect candidate.

“I don’t think there was anything up with trying to think outside the box and trying to go down a different path at that time. But they need to recognise it hasn’t worked and now is the time to get the guy in who will steady the ship. In my opinion, Derek McInnes is probably the only man out there who can do that.

“I don’t think they can take a risk on the new manager. I don’t think there was anything wrong with thinking outside of the box and trying to go down a different path at the time.

“But you need to recognise that it hasn’t worked and now is the time to get a guy in that will steady the ship and it’s probably only Derek McInnes out there who can do that.”