Former Scotland coach Richie Dixon will return to rugby's front-line as manager of Glasgow Caledonians after Keith Robertson was dramatically removed from the head coach's job yesterday.

In an episode which was remarkably similar to Dixon's own removal from office when he was Scotland coach last season, the man he is replacing found himself reassigned within the SRU's coaching structure.

Dixon's role will be a combined one, involving team management and coaching, while Robertson takes on a more low-profile planning role based at Murrayfield, assisting Roy Laidlaw in player development as well as working on what was described as ''the interface between the professional and amateur tiers of the game.''

The new man expressed sincere sympathy last night for his predecessor, saying New Zealander Robertson had, in many ways, been a victim of his circumstances.

''I'm very much looking forward to this challenge, but I think Keith has had to come through an extremely difficult situation since, while he was adapting to a new culture, that culture itself was changing,'' said Dixon. ''I have spoken at length with him and have told him that he should not lose faith in his coaching ability.''

Dixon clearly followed that advice himself while steadily rebuilding his reputation over the past year, helping London Scottish to promotion 12 months ago before coaching the Scotland under-19 side which claimed a memorable win over England this season.

Robertson demonstrated his character yesterday by choosing to break the news to the Glasgow Caledonians squad himself.

SRU director of rugby Jim Telfer, the man who replaced Dixon as Scotland coach 15 months ago, was relatively blunt, however, in explaining why change was necessary.

''Much has been said about the talent in the Glasgow Caledonians squad and how under-achievement characterised their season,'' he said.

''Action had to be taken to address that situation before next season and further steps will be taken both on and off the field.''

With both his assistants, Rob Moffat (backs), and Gordon Macpherson (forwards), staying on in those roles, Robertson is evidently carrying much of the responsibility for the superteam's disappointing performance in both the European Cup and the domestic Tri-Series.

His statement that he believed it was a realistic aim to win the European Cup, before his side subsequently failed to get out of their qualifying group, was always in danger of coming back to haunt him.

What does seem likely, though, is that Dixon will have far more input on the make-up of the squad he is working with than Robertson could, since several of last year's squad were on three-year contracts which will terminate in the next few months.

Talks are ongoing with Scotland's professional players, as well as a number of high profile Scots currently playing their rugby south of the border.

''I would be very confident that we will have an even stronger squad available to us next season,'' Glasgow Caledonians chief executive David Jordan said last night.

qIt was confirmed yesterday that Scotland will face Romania at Hampden Park on August 28, as was revealed in the Herald.

As the SRU continue their policy of attempting to involve all four districts in the World Cup build-up, McDiarmid Park will host the Scottish XV's meeting with Argentina, while the national squad will use Peebles as their base.