APPOINTING an outstanding former player with limited coaching experience as their manager has worked out rather well for Rangers during the last three years.

Liverpool and England great Steven Gerrard lifted the Ibrox club on his arrival, grew in confidence and competence and finally delivered the Scottish title which their followers craved so much earlier this month.

Will Stephen Glass, who Aberdeen confirmed as their new manager yesterday, have the same sort of positive impact at Pittodrie in the seasons to come? 

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Only time will tell. But supporters are sceptical to say the least. Some are seething. Glass has much to prove and many doubters to overcome when he returns.   

It is a leftfield move by new chairman Dave Cormack, the United States-based software entrepreneur, and no mistake.

Fans suspect the strategic partnership that Aberdeen have with MLS franchise Atlanta United – where the Scot has been in charge of the reserve team for the past two years – has influenced his decision.

READ MORE: Stephen Glass: My time at Atlanta has prepared me for Aberdeen - I'll repay the Pittodrie board with trophies

Has a personal friendship with the one-time Dons winger also clouded his judgement as he has searched for the first manager of his two year tenure?

Is Glass just the cheap option?

He was certainly an excellent footballer, may have enormous potential as a coach and might well be ambitious to work at a higher level.

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But was the 44-year-old, whose only previous stints in the dugout before Atlanta were spells at Shamrock Rovers, Carolina RailHawks, Triangle Futbol Club and Carolina Rapids, really the “outstanding candidate”?

Aberdeen are sure to have been inundated with applications for the vacancy from out-of-work coaches from across the United Kingdom and even Europe when Derek McInnes departed after eight years at the helm.

READ MORE: Erik Sviatchenko: Scott Brown will be impossible to replace if he moves to Aberdeen

Surely bringing in somebody with a proven track record who has operated at the highest level in Scotland, England or on the continent would have given them a far better chance of achieving success. There will have been no shortage of interest in the position. 

Derek Adams, Jim Goodwin, Neil Lennon, Alex Neil and Stephen Robinson, who have all worked in the Premiership and elsewhere with noteworthy results, were among those who were tipped to take over.

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Glass may hold his UEFA Pro, A and B coaching licenses. But Atlanta United 2 hardly seem to have excelled during the two seasons that he has been in situ. In the 2020 campaign they won just three of their 16 matches. 

Most of his work as a coach, too, has been at youth level. But the way he has brought some outstanding footballers through at Atalanta has impressed Cormack. With money in short supply due to the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, the major shareholder will be hoping that he can do the same at Aberdeen. 

“During our recruitment process our football strategy, philosophy and the key attributes we desire in a new manager led us to short-listing and interviewing a number of emerging highly talented, driven and ambitious coaches," he said.

READ MORE: How Paul Lambert's insider information helped Scotland beat Austria and take a huge stride towards France '98

“Stephen was the outstanding candidate for the role. He is a bright, young, emerging manager who has all the attributes we are looking for to take this club forward.

“His winning mentality, having been mentored in the ‘Aberdeen Way’ from an early age by the likes of Teddy Scott, Alex Smith and Willie Miller, and desire to embrace the club’s strategy were key factors in our decision.

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“He is committed to an exciting, attacking style of football and maximising our player budget so we can get the best out of, and right balance between, experienced players and, crucially, developing and playing young first team players.

“His coaching style and track-record of developing young players at Atlanta United, like George Bello from the academy to the first team, to now becoming a US international player.

“He has also worked with top professionals like Argentinian international Pity Martinez, a South American player of the year, who Atlanta United then sold for around $20 million, along with his leadership and communication skills are exactly what we need at this juncture.”

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Aberdeen fans will certainly get behind McInnes’s replacement, who set up both of their goals in the 2-0 win over Dundee in the League Cup final in 1995 and was named Man of the Match, and wish him well.

The same, though, may not be true of his second in command. The prospect of Celtic captain Scott Brown becoming player-assistant has not met with a favourable reaction.

READ MORE: Kevin Gallacher: Matt Elliott, Don Hutchison and Neil Sullivan were committed to Scotland - Che Adams will be too

Brown has previous with the Dons. And then some. But the way he celebrated in front them after the Scottish Cup final in 2017 has not been forgotten and is unlikely to be forgiven.

Having his right hand man targeted for abuse by the hardcore element of the Aberdeen support will be an unwelcome distraction for Glass, who played with Brown at Hibernian, needs as he attempts to make the transition from Atlanta.

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Still, the midfielder showed in the Old Firm game on Sunday that he has much to offer on the park. If he can add steel to the side then perhaps he can win the citizens of the Granite City around.

Gerrard was allowed to make mistakes and go two seasons without lifting any silverware at Rangers because allowances were made for his lack of experience and there was also an acceptance that Celtic were far stronger. He also had little to live up to following the ill-fated reigns of Mark Warburton, Pedro Caixinha and Graeme Murty.

But Aberdeen have, despite the widespread unhappiness with McInnes, reached cup finals regularly, recorded good league finishes and qualified for Europe on an annual basis. Anything less than that will, even if they do produce “exciting, attacking football”, be considered a backward step and lead to unrest.

It is quite a challenge for somebody in their first senior managerial job.

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