Steven Gerrard on cusp of title with Rangers: Which other English managers have won silverware in Scotland?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 04 March 2021, 12:21

Steven Gerrard is now within touching distance of winning Rangers their first Scottish Premiership in a decade (Walter Smith, 2011) after a late Alfredo Morelos goal saw his side secure all three points at Livingston.

Gerrard, who was sent off during the game, now has the chance to lift the title this weekend should the Gers win at home to St Mirren and managerless rivals Celtic fail to beat Dundee United.

Gerrard may have experienced a testing opening two seasons in management, but he’s now absolutely thriving in his third campaign at Ibrox. 85 points from a possible 93 is a simply exceptional return to date, as is the fact that his troops re unbeaten and have only conceded nine goals, with 23 clean sheets registered.

The Liverpool legend is a born winner who also has his sights set on European success; Rangers are preparing for a last-16 clash against Leicester’s conquerors Slavia Prague whose manager Jindřich Trpišovský has been touted as an outsider for the Celtic job.

With Gerrard all set for title success in Scotland, which would be the first trophy of his managerial career, we’ve taken a look at other English managers who have tasted glory north of the border…

Frank Heaven (Third Lanark)

Bar the biggest collapse in football history Gerrard will soon get his mitts on the title, and when he does he will double the number of English managers to achieve this feat.

That’s right, since the maiden title was handed out to Scotsman Willie Maley in 1898 only one English manager has triumphed. Yes, one. It was a while ago too.

Step forward Frank Heaven. The Birmingham born cricket and football administrator who was at the helm of Third Lanark when they won in 1903/04. Heaven, who was previously at West Brom, died a year after the success, while Third Lanark dissolved over 50 years ago in 1967.

But, whether Heaven’s win strictly counts is open to debate considering that he served as secretary - this was during a time when club’s were run by committees, usually made up of local businessmen. The club secretary was the forerunner of the football manager, with their role centred on running clubs on a day-to-day basis. It was a trainer who tended to look after the players.

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Steven Gerrard is on the cusp of winning the title with Rangers

While we are taking absolutely nothing away from the achievements of Heaven, Gerrard would have a pretty decent claim at being the first official English manager to win the Scottish title.

In stark contrast, 10 Scots have won the English title a combined 37 times. While the last Englishman to win in his own country was Howard Wilkinson back in 1992 with Leeds.

George Anderson (Dundee)

After Frank Heaven’s triumph in 1904 there was a long, long wait until an Englishman won major silverware in Scotland.

It came in 1952, when George Anderson won Dundee the League Cup at the expense of Rangers, a feat he repeated the following year after beating Kilmarnock. 

The confectionery business owner, nicknamed ‘Toffee Dod’, also finished runner-up in the league and Scottish Cup, won the Scottish League North East Division First Series and the Scottish League ‘B’ twice, and signed future club Hall of Fame inductee Billy Steel, who cost a world record fee of £23,500.

“Anderson made Dundee a power in the land by shrewd signings, a public relations touch ahead of his time and a fantastic team to boot who played some scintillating football,” states the club’s official website.

Anderson’s assistant at Dundee just so happened to be a certain Reg Smith…

Reg Smith (Falkirk)

The former Corby Town and  Dundee United boss, who coached under the aforementioned George Anderson at Dundee, took charge of Falkirk in January 1957 when they were rooted to the foot of Division One. 

Not only did Reg Smith keep his side in the league but he led them to Scottish Cup glory; they beat Kilmarnock 2-1 in extra-time in a replay following a 1-1 draw in the original encounter.

Falkirk lost their fight against relegation in 1959 and Smith returned to England to manage Millwall, this was followed by spells in South Africa with Addlinton and Cape Town Spurs - his father had played for the Springboks. He also oversaw Bedford Town before dispensing with life as a manager in order to work at a computer company in Stevenage.

Smith’s obituary in The Times stated: 

“A reflective man, Reg Smith had a taste for homespun philosophical insights in his programme notes and once answered a critical journalist’s comments with a whole page of verse; when he decided to buy a playing kit with the numbers on the front of the players’ shorts rather than the backs of their shirts, he told critics that the opposition wouldn’t be able to tell whether they were coming or going.”

Kevin Drinkell (Stirling Albion)

Former Rangers, Norwich and Grimsby sharp-shooter Kevin Drinkell, who once rejected Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United, ended his playing days at Stirling Albion.

He became manager at the latter and won the third-tier title in 1995/96 - a season which saw the club accumulate a 27 game unbeaten league run - he then bagged a promotion into the top-flight.

Drinkell is now working as a Mercedes-Benz Sales Executive in Perth.

Terry Butcher (Inverness)

During a very successful playing career, Terry Butcher won the UEFA Cup with Ipswich, plus three titles and two cups with Rangers. 

He ventured into management aged just 32 (Coventry), then had a range of spells in England, Scotland, and Australia. In 2009 he was named Inverness manager, where he was unable to save them from relegation down to the second-tier, but instantly bounced back by winning the division’s title, and later guided the club to 4th in the SPL.

Butcher then had stints at Hibernian and Newport, while he’s currently coaching at Ipswich.

Mark Warburton (Rangers)

Rangers may have been in the second-tier at the time, but Mark Warburton enjoyed a cracking first season with the Gers; leading his troops to the 2015/16 Championship title and Challenge Cup double. He also nearly won the Scottish Cup too (more on that in a moment).

Half-way through Rangers’ return to the top-flight, Warburton left; a departure which remains a confusing one. At the time Rangers stated that Warburton had resigned from his post, something which the Englishman has vehemently denied.

“I want to ram home the point that you would never walk away from a club of Rangers' stature,” he’s since said. “I did not resign, absolutely not.”

Warburton, who enjoyed a 65.85% win rate at Rangers, went on to manage Nottingham Forest while he’s been in charge of QPR since the summer of 2019.

Alan Stubbs (Hibernian)

2016 proved to be a fruitful year for English managers in Scotland as Alan Stubbs led Hibernian to an historic Scottish Cup success, which ended a staggering 114-year wait.

It was claimed in dramatic fashion as an injury-time David Gray header secured a dramatic 3-2 win over Warburton’s Rangers in what proved to be Stubbs’ 100th and final game in charge of Hibs.

Stubbs then spent just 14 games at the helm of Rotherham before he returned to Scotland to manage St Mirren for nine games.

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