Time is right to take on Fife job

METHIL; 'EAST FIFE FC SQUAD 2011; GORDON DURIE'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
METHIL; 'EAST FIFE FC SQUAD 2011; GORDON DURIE'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON

NEW East Fife boss Gordon Durie says the time is right for him to step into the manager’s job at New Bayview.

Durie, who began his playing career with the Methil side before going on to play for footballing giants both north and south of the border, had been in temporary charge of the team following John Robertson’s departure.

His first game as permanent gaffer was Saturday’s 1-0 derby day loss at the hands of Cowdenbeath, but the manager said he saw enough from his side to convince him they can still be in with a shout of reaching the promotion play-off spots.

Speaking to the Mail on Monday, he said: “We were disappointed not to take something from the game.

“The goal could have been prevented but, if the boys can show me the same attitude in the remaining games, then we will be OK.”

This Saturday, the Fifers make the journey west to take on Alan Adamson’s Dumbarton.

The Sons have been East Fife’s bogey team for the past few seasons, having racked up a few impressive, high-scoring victories.

A win for the hosts on Saturday will leave East Fife a massive 13 points off their third-placed opponents, so the manager is keen to make sure that deficit doesn’t become a reality.

“Every game we have from now until the end of the season is a big one,” said Durie.

“Dumbarton have been one of these teams, though, that we’ve not been able to take anything from.

“But we’ll get the boys in to training this week on Tuesday and Thursday and we’ll be telling them to go there with confidence.”

Of course, the big news of the week was the confirmation before the Cowdenbeath fixture of Durie’s appointment.

Chairman Sid Collumbine joined the new boss on the pitch pre-match to greet the fans, and the former assistant is now looking forward to getting his teeth into the role.

“I’ve a lot of history, having started my career here; it’s a club that’s close to my heart,” he said.

“I’ve been here as assistant to John Robertson and it was always the intention for him to stand aside and to let me take over.

“The time is right for me to become manager now.”

The East Fife Mail hailed a young Durie as a “possible star” when he made his home debut in the black and gold, netting the only goal in a 1-0 win over Forfar in February 1982.

And we weren’t wrong, because the striker was to go on to have a long and celebrated career which saw him net for Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur down south, then returning to Scotland and playing a key part in Rangers’ dominance of the 1990s, before ending his career at Heart of Midlothian in 2001.

As well as making his mark at club level, Durie also racked up 43 caps for his country and was part of the Scotland side which kicked off the 1998 World Cup in France against Brazil.

“I took a bit of a break when I finished playing,” said the East Fife boss.

“But then I started coaching the under-13s at Rangers and went on to coach the under-17s at Dunfermline and then to East Fife assistant, so it’s been a gradual progression.”

Durie first arrived at Bayview in May 1979, when then manager Dave Clarke signed the 13-year-old on an ‘S’ form.

He was at the club for two-and-a-half years before signing on professional terms with the club shortly after his 16th birthday in December 1981.

The teenager made his senior debut for the Fifers just a few weeks later when he netted the second goal against Fife rivals Dunfermline Athletic in a reserve match at Bayview.

Durie’s son, Scott, is also part of the Bayview ranks, with the full-back signing from Rangers a couple of seasons ago.