Ferguson said: "Right now, I wouldn't blame Big Eck if he did decide to quit.

"I want Eck to stay because I have a lot of time and respect for him. But I fear the lure of the Premiership might be too much for him to knock back.

"He won trophies on a limited budget at Rangers and then he came in after Walter Smith and gave Scottish football the feel good factor.

"Alex built on that and his reputation is very high at this time."