The runners and riders

Last updated : 12 June 2009 By Firparkcorner
In a break from tradition, we'll start with those it won't be. Ian McCall signed a new deal with Partick Thistle which will surely put him out of our price range compensation wise and while there seems to be an unwritten law saying Stuart Baxter must be mentioned in this situation, it's just not going to happen.

With Scott Leitch joining Mark McGhee in Aberdeen there is no assistant waiting to take over and though a rated youth coach, it would seem unlikely that Gordon Young is a serious contender. The lack of a player about to retire means it is unlikely anyone from the playing staff will take over - Stephen Craigan is respected and admired but surely the job is way too early for him.

Fans will always look to previous heroes at times like this which brings Chris McCart into the frame but he has shown no desire to be a manager before and his lack of experience in this area would make him a huge gamble.

Luc who would be a popular choice
A more realistic prospect from the 'ex-files' is Luc Nijholt. He has made it clear in the past he would love to come back and while his time at Telstar as a boss may not have been an unqualified success, it is at least experience. His work at AZ Alkmaar and Salzburg in a lower capacity shows he is at least rated by some impressive coaches but there is no doubt he too would be a risk - albeit one guaranteed to be given time by the fans.

You may need to belong to a slightly older generation but many fans will have fond memories of Gary McAllister. He achieved a huge amount as a footballer but his managerial career so far has been indifferent - and negative comments the last time we had a vacancy will count against him.

Terry Butcher is sure to be linked with a return but there is a feeling among the support that his time has passed.

Jimmy Calderwood may feel we are too much of a backwards move after his time at Aberdeen but despite the criticism he has received, his record is undeniably excellent. Jim Jefferies is probably not a contender given the length of his contract at Kilmarnock but he has been under pressure there recently and may consider jumping when the time is right. We don't represent a big step up from the Rugby Park side but they are one of the few clubs in the league with even less money to spend than us.

Our local rivals Hamilton will no doubt soon be making 'hands off' noises incase we consider going for Billy Reid and with good reason. Reid deserves tremendous credit for what he has achieved with Accies but it is doubtful he can take them any further. The same cannot be said for Derek McInnes who will look at the sides likely to be competing with St Johnstone and think there is no reason he cannot do more with St Johnstone having taken them to the SPL - and that's if Championship clubs don't tempt him first. Gordon Chisholm will also want to make a SPL return one day but his time at Dundee United was a disaster and though he has not done badly at Queen of the South, a disappointing last season will have harmed his chances.

Craig Brown could be considered, especially as a stop gap measure to prepare us for the European campaign, while Tommy McLean also falls into this category. It is doubtful either would be a serious candidate in the long-term although it is possible they could be used as a technical director supporting a younger manager.

While Paul Lambert has ruled himself out of contention, others in the English lower leagues will no doubt be tempted. Jim Gannon did an excellent job at Stockport before being released for financial reasons and could be looking for a way back into the game and not having to pay compensation could make him particularly tempting.

But, for all there are a number of obvious candidates, the appointment could also come as a complete shock. No one would have escaped managers with the reputation of Guus Hiddink or Mark McGhee to show an interest in us while turning to the likes of Alex McLeish, Harri Kampman and Billy Davies was a huge surprise.

The one thing that can said with certainty is we have a very interesting time ahead. Close season? What close season!?