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Dick: "I regret leaving Rangers"

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Advocaat nearly made Gers return

Zenit St Petersburg boss Dick Advocaat says he was on the verge of returning to manage Rangers in August 2005.

The Dutchman was manager of the Glasgow club between 1998 and 2001 and says he held talks with chairman David Murray near the end of Alex McLeish's reign.

"There were some rumours about me coming back then and I was not against it," said the coach of Rangers' Uefa Cup final opponents.

"I spoke to David over the phone, but they took another option."

Advocaat succeeded current Rangers manager Walter Smith in the Ibrox hotseat in 1998.

He went on to have a successful three years in charge, with a domestic treble in his first season and a league-cup double the following term.

Advocaat relinquished control of Rangers' first team in 2001 to Alex McLeish, although he stayed as director of football before becoming Netherlands coach in January 2002.

And the Zenit boss says he was prepared to return to the club until they found a permanent solution.

"It was only going to be for an interim period. That was nearly four years ago," he said.

"There was a period when there was something wrong at Rangers, when things were not going the right way at the club.

"So many things were happening and I was thinking, why not?

"It was four years, five years since I had been at Ibrox.

"But, happily for me, it didn't work out because then I got the job with South Korea, which was an incredible experience."

Although things eventually working out well for him, Advocaat admits he was hasty in leaving Ibrox in 2002.

"I now regret I quitting as manager in the December," he said.

"But David Murray wanted to step down as chairman at the time, so I thought it might be right for me as well."

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