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Football: BOSSING PSG COULD DRIVE PLG IN SEINE; RANGERS LATEST ...

Byline: James Traynor

PAUL LE GUEN might have spluttered his Dubonnet all over the carpet when news of Rangers' weekend result reached his ears.

The poor man's rehabilitation after that traumatic stint among the Picts would have been set back in an instant, especially when he heard who had scored and who had captained the side.

He was probably last seen retreating to his room mumbling "non, non, c'est impossible" before pulling the duvet over his head.

Then again, he might just have thought this was typical. Most likely his view of us as athletes and model professionals would merely have been confirmed.

Three of the five Rangers goals against Dundee United were grabbed by the two players he might have come to regard as his enfants terrible. Barry Ferguson, wearing the armband which had been ripped off by Le Guen just before he decided to leave, scored one and and Kris Boyd hit two.

Fate loves to kick a man when he's down but while Le Guen will always look back on his seven months as Rangers manager with regret, hopefully he took a good, long squint ahead before agreeing to go back to work.

He emerged from his despair yesterday to take over from long-suffering Guy Lacombe at Paris Saint-Germain and perhaps we are now entitled to form a new opinion of him. Those pictures of him with his face contorted in agony as he ran day after gruelling day across a baking desert should have aroused suspicions but becoming head coach of PSG just might have put the tin lid on it.

Could Le Guen be a bit of a masochist?

Either that or the stress of trying to enforce aculture change at Ibrox separated him from his senses because no rational person would take on PSG, a club riven by anarchy on and off the pitch.

Trying to rid themselves of violent, fascist thugs, PSG have been slipping deeper into the relegation quicksand and their 2-1 defeat by Valenciennes on Saturday was their fifth this season at Parc des Princes where a fan was shot dead by a policeman in November.

On Sunday, and with those fans who haven't yet been banned or given up on PSG screaming for his head, Lacombe pleaded for "understanding and compassion". His pleas were in vain and he was sacked yesterday.

Immediately, PSG president Alain Cayzac turned to one of the club's former players and Le Guen was unveiled as manager of the team with the worst home record in the league. Parc des Princes has become one of the easiest places for opponents to collect points.

The loss to Valenciennes was particularly humiliating because the visitors played most of the second half with 10 men and had gone into the match with the league's worst away record. Cayzac had backed Lacombe as much as he could but, having met with two of PSG's three investors, the president had to take action.

He admitted he had been asking questions of Lacombe and it didn't help when influential players, especially captain Pauleta, made it clear they had lost faith with their coach.

With eight goals in 16 games, Pauleta is also top scorer and on Sunday he took a penalty kick against Lacombe when he said: "I don't want to play in the Second Division next year. That's the situation at the moment. We're not playing well and can't win games."

When the captain turns, a manager knows he is in trouble but Le Guen knows all about that and it will be interesting to hear if he tells the French papers that skippers are not that important. Then again, his time in Scotland might have taught him that it is better to keep your captain onside.

In fact, there are other similarities between the job he has just left and the one he has stepped into. Just as his Rangers strikers were misfiring, Pierre-Alain Frau, Bonaventure Kalou and Amara Diane have scored only two goals each this season.

There are dressing-room factions and in 14 months PSG have won only two away games and are dropping points to smaller outfits normally regarded as much weaker. Sound familiar, Paul?

Even if he can pull the various groups together, it will be some time before he can fill the Parc des Princes because police have ordered that part of the stadium remains closed until the end of January at least.

The order was issued after a supporter was shot dead by a black policeman who was protecting a Jewish fan under attack from thugs bawling racist and anti-Semitic chants.

PSG have been accused of refusing to address racism and violence among fans. It is against this backdrop that PLG will work.

Hopefully he can handle mouthy players like Pauleta better than he did Ferguson, although he might be about to discover that compared with the PSG of today managing Rangers was really no more than a walk in the Murray Park.

CAPTION(S):

NEW JOB: Paul Le Guen
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 16, 2007
Words:836
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