Credit: Celtic Football Club
You are currently manager of Formartine United since 2017 having also plates for the club. How are you enjoying management so far and what do you view as the challenges of managing a club such as Formartine United?
First of all it does not replace playing. I have really enjoyed my time managing Formartine United. When I took on the job it was as player manager and I was a bit reluctant at the time due to thinking that it would maybe stop me from playing as much which has been the case and that was disappointing. At the time the Chairman persuaded me to give it a try and I have enjoyed it don’t get me wrong. The role does indeed bring challenges part- time football is different to what I was used to in my playing career playing full time.
You are coming up against different things and you are battling against players not turning up because they have to work late or in certain aspects it is not their number one priority because they have a full time job themselves. There are obstacles but at the same time it can be very enjoyable as well.
You played three seasons for Celtic FC. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any highlights or special memories?
Yes. Making my debut for the club would be a highlight. I debuted away to Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park. I was at Celtic FC from the age of 14 and when you sign for the club as a schoolboy the aim is to get in the first team and obviously you want to stay there and be a regular but it was not to be for me but I can still say that I played a few games and made it to the Celtic FC first team but ultimately it is one of those things that I can be very proud off.
To play for the biggest club in the country and Celtic FC are also probably one of the biggest clubs in Europe so it is something that I am very proud off but I would have liked to have been a regular in the first team. I played and trained with some of the best players around so that is always great to have in terms of memories.
You played two seasons for Motherwell FC. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any special memories or highlights?
My time at Motherwell FC was a very frustrating time for me. Everything seemed right and it was great and I really enjoyed my time under Stuart McCall and I hold him in very high regard and he is one of the best managers I have worked under.
The players were great and the lads were all fantastic and I really enjoyed that side of things but on the pitch it did not quite work out for me. I suffered loss of form and a lot of injuries and I look back on a frustrating period in my career and if there is one thing that I could change it would probably be that.
You accrued a lot of experience during your playing career. When you look back could you say who were among the best players you played alongside?
Yes, When I was a young player at Celtic FC there were players that you would look up to and you had the pleasure of training alongside them. One player that stood out for me was when I spent a season playing alongside him in the reserve team was Paul Lambert. He was coming to the end of his career and he was wanting to keep playing and he spent a season in the reserves helping young players like myself and to play alongside him was a great help especially in terms of playing in a similar position and working together.
During my time at Ross County playing alongside Ivan Sproule and he was a player that really stood out due to the way that he played the game suited the way I play the game and we seemed to click well and that in turn seemed to work well for the team.
I was fortunate to play alongside numerous good players such Keith Lasley and Steven Hammell at Motherwell who are top professionals and good players. Even in my days in the youth teams playing with the likes of Aiden McGeady, Sean Maloney and John Kennedy. I have been very lucky to play with such good players during my professional career.
You played under very good managers during your professional career. Did you receive any particular advice and encouragement before embarking on your own managerial career?
When I was younger I had a youth team coach at Celtic FC in Willie McStay and a reserve team coach in Kenny McDowell and they were both a huge influence on me. They taught me that game and I really enjoyed working under them. Willie was probably more tactical and would often work on shape on the coaching side as it whereas Kenny was a great man managing who made you become a man and set you up for going into the professional game.
Stuart McCall was also a great manager to work under and I thought his man management skills were excellent and I really enjoyed my time working under Jimmy Calderwood as well. Not so much on the tactical side but his man management skills were superb and he managed to get the best out of his players.
Finally Paul. You are still a young manager. Looking forward to the future is there anything in particular that you would ideally like to achieve in your managerial career?
I had not set out to be a football manager to be honest. It was something that was kind of thrust upon me but like I say I am enjoying every minute of it ever since I have been in it. The aim is to get Formartine United to progress into the Scottish Football League and that is the target that I am setting myself and I have not thought any further than that to be honest. I am concentrating on this club and I really enjoy it here. I have a great Chairman who is very supportive and his dream is to get Formartine United promoted and to win a title and I really want to pay him and get the club to where we want them to be.