With Jackie McNamara out the door, Dundee United’s search for a new man at the helm is on.
The gaffer’s two-and-a-half year Tannadice tenure came to an end this week after not only a disastrous start to the Premiership campaign but also an instantly forgettable eight months at United.
But who will chairman Stephen Thompson turn to next?
Here we take a look at the runners and riders to step into the United hotseat with bookmaker McBookie.
Mixu Paatelainen – 7/4 FAV
The ex-United frontman, a popular figure during his five years at Tannadice, is the man the bookies fancy.
Paatelainen has had mixed success as a manager.
At Cowdenbeath he won promotion to the second tier. He then guided TPS to an Intertoto Cup spot in his homeland of Finland before having a rough spell at Hibs.
An excellent year at Kilmarnock, where he won the SFWA Manager of the Year gong, was followed by four tough years with Finland.
One key factor could be that he’s without a job, following his sacking as Finland national team boss earlier this year, which means no compensation package would have to be agreed.
Stuart McCall – 5/2
The Scotland coach is carrying a fair bit of favour with a lot of the punters and is known to be keen to return to a No 1 spot, following his release by Rangers in the summer.
He did a fantastic job at Motherwell, guiding them to a runners-up spot in the top flight and Champions League football, under strict financial constraints.
Not only a top coach he’s a likable, honourable man. Also in his favour is his considerable contacts book, both sides of the border. Has the ability to bring in the experience and quality to United crave.
Tommy Wright – 5/1
Wright is widely regarded as one of the most tactically astute managers on the block, routinely outwitting Jackie at every turn, including in the 2014 Scottish Cup Final and his final game in charge at the weekend.
The Saints man is definitely in the running but it would cost United dearly to release him from his McDiarmid deal.
Billy McKinlay – 6/1
The chairman is known to be a big admirer of the ex-United star.
But given that McKinlay is on the books at Real Sociedad with David Moyes, it seems unlikely he’ll leave the Basque country any time soon, unless of course manager Moyes is given the boot.
Ray McKinnon – 8/1
The Raith Rovers boss has got the Dundee United connection, which could be a big positive.
But a step towards McKinnon would be in line with the Jackie appointment.
Although he has earned his stripes in Kirkcaldy and with the SFA, he’s yet to be proven in the top flight.
Jim McIntyre – 10/1
A move for McIntyre, who made just shy of 150 appearances for the Tangerines as a player, would not come cheap.
Any compensation deal for the Ross County boss, who is doing a sterling job in the Highlands, would surely run into six figures. As a result, it’s expected Thompson will explore other options.
Paul Lambert – 14/1
The former Scotland international has been without a job since leaving Aston Villa midway through last season.
In fairness though, although not totally out of the question, 14/1 seems a touch short given the level he was operating at previously.
Ian Cathro, Gary Bollan, Steve Lomas – 16/1
Newcastle United assistant boss Cathro, former St Johnstone manager Lomas and Airdrieonians gaffer Gary Bollan round up the serious contenders on the betting markets.
Dundonian Cathro, who was linked with the post while Jackie was still firmly placed, would cost a fair chunk having only recently joined Steve McClaren’s coaching staff at
St James, although the job is likely to still interest him.
Meanwhile, Bollan and Lomas, who has not worked since being sacked at Millwall, are rank outsiders.
Christian Dailly 20/1, Duncan Ferguson 25/1, Alex McLeish 33/1, Billy Davies 33/1.