Sacked Totten makes quick return

 

IF THE Department of Employment in Scotland were to open a Job Centre exclusively for football club managers, they would have to fit a revolving door to cope with the business. The comings and goings of the last 48 hours have brought the total number of managerial changes this season to 16, with the football year not yet at the half-way stage.

Nowhere was the turnover quicker than at Falkirk, the First Division club who installed Alex Totten less than 24 hours after they had sacked Eamonn Bannon.

in peculiar circumstances.

Bannon was held responsible for fielding an ineligible player in a league match, leading to a £25,000 fine for the Brockville club which they cannot afford.

Totten himself had been dismissed by Kilmarnock just over a fortnight previously, and he resisted an offer to coach in Hong Kong in order to rejoin the club he managed for a year in 1982-'83.

The recently elected Kilmarnock board, under the chairmanship of former player Ronnie Hamilton met with Alex MacDonald of Airdrie yesterday and his appointment is expected to be confirmed today.

That will leave a vacancy at another First Division club, with Bannon, Billy Kirkwood - fired by Dundee United earlier - and Alex Smith, who lost his job at Clyde, among the currently unemployed contenders.

There is also still to be resolved. the position at Hibs, who have gone through 11 matches with Jocky Scott as caretaker since the removal of Alex Miller, now assistant to Gordon Strachan at Coventry.

Scott would like his status to be clearly defined "sooner rather than later" but is helpless in the matter of precipitating a decision from his board. Scott has no other job to go to, so cannot present chairman Douglas Cromb and his fellow members with an ultimatum.

Still, Scott's prospects surely improved with the 3-0 victory over Raith Rovers at Stark's Park which took the Easter Road side into fifth place in the Premier Division, significantly ahead of their neighbours, Hearts.

The latter seem to have the majority share of the problems in Edinburgh right now, as their 4-1 mauling by Rangers at Tynecastle was their seventh game without a victory. The result kept Rangers 14 points ahead of Celtic, who have three matches in hand, but more encouragingly for Ibrox fans heralded the return to real form of Paul Gascoigne.

The England midfielder simply took charge of the match and scored a goal, Rangers' fourth, of peerless quality. Celtic ended a fortnight of idleness with a 1-0 home win over the improving Dundee United, the goal scored by midfielder Phil O'Donnell, returning after months out with injury.

It was a good result for Celtic, who were without the injured van Hooijdonk and McNamara as well as the suspended di Canio.