Back to the future for Nicholl and Cowden


Cowdenbeath fans will be hoping that it’s not a case of daja vu as the club sees the return of the former Blue Brazil manager Jimmy Nicholl for a second spell at Central Park.

After all, the Northern Irishman’s first stint is more of a lingering bad dream than a glory drenched memory.

Nicholl’s one season in charge between June 2010 and May 2011 was a difficult one to swallow for fans who watched their team relegated without even a fight.

The new boss sees this opportunity of dealing with a few skeletons in the closet.

“I told Donald [Finley] I just wanted to come back and try and retrieve some personal pride because the last I was here we got relegated,” explained Nicholl.

Cowden fans will be hoping for more ‘return’ from his return this time around, that’s for sure.

Thankfully, while languishing precariously second bottom this time Nicholl finds more stability behind the scenes and arguably a better squad than belies their league position, thanks in the main to sterling efforts of outgoing gaffer Colin Cameron.

And the immediate objective is a clear one as the new manager knows all too well.

“The only thing I need to do is keep the boys up and from what I’ve seen and what I’ve heard they get themselves into great positions and start games well and if they don’t score when they’re on top and creating chances we seem to let it go a bit,” said the new boss.

“If you look at the games this season the attacking ability is there as we’d scored more goals than the league leaders but on the other hand had let in three times as many at the back - so there was the problem, plain and simple.

“We need to continue to work hard at aiming it hard for the opposition to score against us, we’ve got instil a determination and a commitment to see us overcome those setbacks.

“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves or lose heart if we go a goal behind and it’s my job to sort out who I’ve got playing for this club and who are not, and that excites me, I’ve a new bunch of players and I hoping they realise what a massive challenge it is.

The manager will be heartened by inform striker Kane Hemmings who has scored six in the last six games, and hopeful of the continued progression of his undoubted talents.

But it’ll be Nicholls knowledge of the Scottish leagues and previous managerial and coaching experience at the likes of Raith Rovers, Dunfermline, Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and Hibernian, as well as his connections from his playing days at Manchester United and Rangers that will be the saviour of Championship football for the Blue Brazil for next season.

An instant example of this is the shrewd business of Nicholl to exploit the connection with previous employers Hibernian to bring midfield youngster David Gold to Fife on loan.

The 21-year-old, came through the Hibs academy and worked with Nicholl when he was assistant at Easter Road, and it more business like this, using the loan system to their advantage that will be the do or die for staying up.

Survival is the goal, hardly surprising considering the mouthwatering possibility of Rangers and Hearts in the same division offering instant ‘cash cows’ for all concerned. But last season’s narrow defeat to Partick in the Ramsden’s Cup semi final was the perfect example of what can be achieved by a provincial club like Cowdenbeath.