All photographs courtesy of Stuart Millar
You have worked as a chief scout at various football clubs. What does the role typically involve on a daily basis?
I was chief scout working under George Adam’s director of football. My role also involved analysing our opponents so therefore I very rarely watched County as I concentrated on our next opponent. Derek was the manager and the remit was to recommend players that could get us into the premier league. Learning under George was amazing he was aware I knew the game but he gave me so much advice I couldn’t help but learn. Derek was always going to be a success his drive, positivity, selflessness, enthusiasm and attention to detail is second to none!
I have been Head of recruitment at Dumbarton and Stranraer. Scout at Aberdeen and Head scout for WBA in Scotland. All jobs have different requirements and finance available so therefore it’s all about finding the right fit for whatever division you are playing in. Picking the appropriate loan players are vital for whatever club you are with whilst at Dumbarton I took Ross McCrorie and Tom Walsh from Rangers. Callum Waters, Jamie Lindsay and Joe Thomson from Celtic. Christian Nade and Eamon Brophy from Hamilton.
Whilst at Stranraer I took Innes Cameron from Kilmarnock. Angus Beith from Hearts. Cammy McPherson from St Mirren and Ali McCann from St Johnstone. Whilst at Airdrie I’ve brought in Griffin Sabatini from Dnipro. Kyle Connell from Kilmarnock. Callum Smith from Dunfermline. You need to build up contacts, clubs need to trust you with there players.
Your time at Ross County was a very successful one. When you joined the club, they were in the Scottish second division. Moreover, John Robertson has spoken about the difficulty of attracting players to the highlands due to location. How did you work around that issue when working at Ross County to be successful?
Of course, there is a difficulty attracting players to the highlands you have got to sell them on the clubs ambitions it does help when you’ve won two championships a couple of Irn Bru cups or whatever they were called at the time as well as a Scottish cup final appearance. It’s also a lovely place in the country to rear a young family although admittedly you are a bit isolated. I can’t speak highly enough of George and Derek Adam’s honesty and loyalty bearing in mind George along with the support of Roy McGregor transformed a club/community from a second division team into a team that went 41 league games undefeated finishing 5th and 7th in the premier league.
You’ve been involved in football for decades and appear to be still in love with the game. How do you reflect on your career in football so far?
I have been Director of Football at Stranraer and Airdieonians. Head of Recruitment at Dumbarton and held scouting positions at Aberdeen and worked in the English premier league at West Brom but my chief scout role at County for 6 years in total was the most satisfying working alongside Derek and George.
On the pitch in this country I’ve been a player at Airdrie, Dundee, Dumbarton, Montrose, Clyde and Alloa. Played on loan at Blackpool and played overseas in Cyprus. My most satisfying spell was at Clyde playing under John Clark even though Craig Brown signed me.
I’ve been a manager in the juniors winning 4 promotions at Carluke and Cumbernauld. I have been assistant manager at Stranraer and Ayr as well as manager of Clyde. The most satisfying time of my life in the dug out was as assistant manager at Stranraer 2003-2006 with manager Neil Watt where we won a title and a promotion to the championship. Magical times!
Almost 40 years in football doing my hobby and still living the dream. I’m one lucky guy.