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In, out, shake it all about

BILLY Stark has to be regarded as a contender for the Scotland manager's job on a permanent basis because people appear to be dropping out of the running right, left and centre.

Jordan Rhodes' went close to getting the first Scotland hat-trick in more than 40 years Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Jordan Rhodes' went close to getting the first Scotland hat-trick in more than 40 years Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

First Alex McLeish ruled himself out, then it was Walter Smith going back to Rangers, before signals this week from the Gordon Strachan camp that he might prefer a return to club management. It remains to be seen whether Gordon is still a viable candidate, but if people like that are not going to be available Billy is someone we definitely have to look at.

Although it wasn't a great second-half performance against Luxembourg in Wednesday's friendly, it was a night when Billy just had to win the game if he wanted to be a serious option – and he did. He had a lot to handle with call-offs, and you can't rule him out.

Billy was my assessor when I did my Uefa A licence, and you couldn't meet a nicer man. You can be a big character who is real box office or a quiet, unassuming coach, but getting your point across that is all that matters. Billy is brilliant at that.

That course was at Broadwood Stadium in Cumbernauld and our former players' group included some quite big names: Alan Shearer, Charlie Christie, Terry Butcher, Billy Reid, Steven Pressley, Malky Mackay. Coaching is no bother to me now, but at the time I knew I had mucked up one element of my coursework, and hadn't shaped up my team very well.

Billy pulled me aside and said I had panicked because another group had come over to watch, and told me to calm down. My training drills were really good, my football was going to be fine, but I just had to work on that for my assessment. His wise words really helped me because I cruised it the next day.

However, although it has been shown – in the case of Craig Brown – that promoting an under-21 coach does work, I would like to see a bigger name get the job. It might count against Billy that he isn't a big name who can put bums on seats. I think the Tartan Army would want that, but as long as Billy continues winning games the fans will turn out.

At the time, I agreed with Craig Levein when he went with the experience of Kenny Miller in pressurised games, but the lesson from Wednesday night is that Jordan Rhodes' time is now. I wouldn't say he should be starting every game from now on, because form can change, but he has scored three goals in two starts and you can't just leave him out after that. I know it was only Luxembourg and Australia but he looks like he can score goals at almost any level.

In Luxembourg he bagged his two goals and had a third chalked off. Had it stood which would have given him the first Scotland hat-trick since Colin Stein in 1969. I am sure Jordan will play alongside Steven Fletcher in the next qualifier. If we have a £22 million strike partnership then we have to use it.

I read Darren Fletcher's comments comparing Jordan with Ally McCoist and know what he means. Coisty was a natural goalscorer who didn't care if he missed one, he just went back in and wanted more chances. But if I was a young boy I wouldn't want that kind of pressure. So I won't say Jordan is the next McCoist, or the next this or that. But if he keeps up his club form, he should start the next qualifier.

WALTER Smith's return to Ibrox made headlines but that wasn't the only important signing Charles Green managed to pull off.

Ian Hart, a member of the Blue Knights group who tried to take over Rangers last summer, has also joined the board. He is the nicest, most unassuming man you could meet, and a guy with the club's interests at heart.

When you think of all the characters who have been around in the last few years, Hart's appointment is another reason for the club's fans to breathe a huge sigh of relief.

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