Glasgow are almost certain to appoint a Scottish head coach to succeed sacked Kiwi Searancke at the end of a disastrous 18 months since they set a new high for Scotland's professional teams with a Celtic League semi-final appearance last season.

That became clear last night as David Jordan, the team's chief executive, admitted they must move swiftly to avoid a repeat of last year's mistakes.

There was deep irony in yesterday's decision by the SRU to appoint, on a caretaker basis for the remainder of this season's Bank of Scotland Pro Cup campaign, Richie Dixon. It was his departure a year ago which sparked Glasgow's real troubles.

He stood down as head coach to return to a desk job at Murrayfield, after a slump in form had followed that Celtic League success, but claimed that he would continue as team manager in order to ensure a smooth transition and to maintain the five-year plan he and Jordan had been pursuing.

Instead, Rob Moffat also left to join the new professional team in his native Borders, after three years with Glasgow, leaving only the forwards coach Gordon Macpherson - he is also now expected to leave - of the previous backroom team.

On taking over, Searancke, who had coached at provincial level with Waikato in New Zealand, and Steve Anderson, who came from a rugby league background which included working with Australia's all-conquering national side, rapidly made it clear that they wanted to make their own mark. Dixon was sidelined as

a result.

Searancke's first public utterances were to castigate the standard of fitness and conditioning of the squad he had inherited and, while Glasgow got off to a flier under his charge, winning their first four Celtic League matches, they won only three of the subsequent 15 under his charge.

That run brought disappointing exits from both the Celtic League, at the quarter-final stage, and the European Cup, as well as a slump to the foot of the table in the domestic Pro Cup which will determine the two Scottish teams to play in the European Cup next season. Glasgow, rooted to the bottom, are set for the dubious reward of a place in the Parker Pen Challenge Cup.

Searancke has been hard done by in some ways, a lack of foresight at Murrayfield contributing to his downfall.

While fellow New Zealander Tony Gilbert was appointed as coach of the new Borders team in time to have approval over most of the key players they brought in, Searancke inherited his entire squad.

Further, the Borders and Edinburgh brought in all of the biggest-name signings to the Scottish game and there was particular resentment within Glasgow ranks over the way Todd Blackadder went to Edinburgh after Jordan had made the initial discovery that the former All Black captain might be available.

Searancke also arrived too late to have real influence over pre-season training, while he was further undermined when it emerged in mid-season that Anderson was set to move to a new job at Murrayfield. He had, though, also struggled to come to terms with the Scottish rugby environment and, disastrously, had lost the confidence of the players.

A scathing attack in The Herald last week by Andy Nicol, the soon-to-retire club captain, over the way some players found out from the press that they were to be released, outlined the level of disharmony in the ranks.

The timing could hardly be more problematic and must be questioned. Glasgow's bid to keep alive their hopes of playing in next season's European Cup hinges on Friday's match against Edinburgh.

The three professional teams are owned by the SRU, so the final decision on personnel rests with Jim Telfer, the national director of rugby. Yet he has been preoccupied in recent weeks with his other role as Scotland's forwards coach.

Telfer has previously indicated that he is anxious to bring through more homegrown coaching talent and this is an opportunity for that.

Sean Lineen, the Boroughmuir backs coach, is widely expected to be given a similar role with the new side.

Jordan, though, admitted last night that whether Glasgow retain a three-coach set-up or change to a two-coach structure is still to be decided.

''A lot depends on who the head coach is,'' he said. ''A two-coach structure is a possibility, but we would probably need a team facilitator to go along with that. There are people out there we could speak to, but we are open to other candidates.''

He admitted that, while anxious to identify the right candidate, speed is of the essence as Glasgow are in the process of releasing players and identifying potential recruits, while seeking to cut the playing staff from 32 to around 27.

A two-coach structure would limit the number of obvious candidates if Lineen is to be appointed. That would effectively rule out a return for Moffat or John Rutherford, the Scotland A backs coach who has in the past indicated interest in full-time coaching.

names in the frame

Hugh Campbell Glaswegian former Scotland B prop who coached Glasgow during amateur era and is currently an assistant in the Scotland set-up. Reputation has not been enhanced by whitewashing of the Scotland A side under his stewardship

Henry Edwards Former North & Midlands back-row forward who has been with the Edinburgh Reivers/Edinburgh set-up throughout the professional era. Coaches Scotland's U19 squad and was a team-mate of Sean Lineen's when Boroughmuir were national champions in 1991

Shade Munro Charismatic former Scotland lock who has coached Glasgow Hawks back to upper reaches of club game and is popular in Glasgow's west end. Could assist the healing process between local amateur clubs and the professional team

Iain Paxton Member of Scotland's 1984 grand slam-winning side who has formed an outstanding partnership with Sean Lineen at Boroughmuir, winning back-to-back Scottish Cups in 2000 and 2001 as well as second division title in 2001. League and cup double this season in their sights