GORDON Greer last night claimed Rangers messed up by not making a move for Steve Clarke before Kilmarnock appointed him as their new manager.

Clarke was touted as a possible replacement for Pedro Caixinha earlier this season as the Ibrox club struggled for form and results under the Portuguese coach.

However, the Rugby Park club brought in the former Chelsea and Liverpool assistant and West Brom and Reading manager in October just before Caixinha got sacked.

The Ayrshire club were in bottom spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership with just three points when the Scot took over from Lee McCulloch.

But since then Kilmarnock have drawn with Celtic and Rangers and beaten Hearts away from home and moved up to eighth in the league table.

And former Brighton, Blackburn and Scotland centre half Greer reckons Rangers, who are still waiting to appoint a full-time manager seven weeks after Caixinha departed, lost out by not acting sooner.

Asked if Rangers had missed an opportunity to bring in a top class manager, he said: “Definitely. I think so. The gaffer has got fantastic pedigree. He has worked with some of the biggest clubs in England and with some great clubs and top players as well.

“When we appointed Steve Clarke here we were as surprised as anybody. It is a great appointment and credit to the club for it.

“There were a few names being bandied about – and then all of a sudden Steve Clarke comes in. We were delighted.”

Greer continued: “Rangers is one of the biggest clubs in Scotland, but if you look at the clubs he (Clarke) has worked with down in England you can see he has worked with some of the top clubs down there. I don’t think he would have been fazed by it at all.

“Respect is earned. But when somebody like Steve Clarke comes in he does earn your respect because of what he has done in the game. You tend to listen. He has had some great ideas and it has been good to work under him.

“We were in a predicament where we were down near the bottom of the league. Now we are in a better situation. But we are still striving to be even better and get away from the relegation zone and be in touch with the clubs above us. He is ambitious as a coach. You can see that.”

Greer, whose side will take on Motherwell in a Premiership match at Rugby Park this afternoon, believes Clarke will be able to use his extensive contacts in the game to strengthen Kilmarnock in the January transfer window.

“It will be interesting. He has got loads of contacts all over the place. That is one of the biggest things about him – he has worked with so many different clubs and different players.

“He is a good guy so he will have good relationships with a lot of these clubs as well. It will be interesting to see what happens in January and see what the club can do as far as getting players in.”

Gordon Greer was speaking as the SPFL Trust launched Festive Friends, an initiative to provide a free lunch, companionship and the means to get there at clubs across the country. The programme is this year being funded by the SPFL.