Maurice Malpas has insisted ‘I’m here to help’ after being handed a key role at Raith Rovers.
The former Scotland international was announced as the club’s new director of football on Boxing Day, a role that will see the 52-year-old act as an advisor to both the board and the management team.
Malpas has been without a club since leaving his post as assistant manager of Hibernian during the summer following the sacking of boss Terry Butcher.
A Dundee United legend in his playing days, Malpas has also had spells in charge of Motherwell and Swindon Town, while he has also held a coaching position with the Scotland Under 21s.
Malpas is not taking over any first team duties from manager Grant Murray but hopes he can use his experience to benefit the team.
As well as providing an opinion on team selection, tactics and training, he will also use his network of contacts to suggest player signings that fit within the club’s budget.
“The club was looking for someone to come in with a different point of view, and looks at things from a different angle,” Malpas told the Press.
“In terms of Grant, I’ll be giving advice in training and in games, and just offering another opinion. He’s only got Laurie there, so he’s short-staffed.
“I’m a different era from them, I’m an older man, so I’ll probably look at things from a different point of view.
“They thought it would be advantageous to the club. The directors were looking for help, so they can help Grant on the football side of it, and I’m here for whatever he needs me to do or wants me to do.
“I know a lot of people will be saying there’s something sinister in it, but it’s nothing like that. I’m here to offer a bit of advice and be a sounding board for him.
“At the end of the day, Grant will pick the team and decide what he’s going to do, which is the way to do it, but between myself, Grant and the chairman we think this is the way forward.
“It’s a job I think I can do, one I’m looking forward to doing, and one I think I can contribute to.
“If I thought I was coming here to sit on my bum, I’m not that type of person. I’m coming here to help the team, help Grant and help the players.
“It’s all about what happens on the pitch - that dictates everything in football.
“I’m just another cog in it now that might help the football team, or it might not, but the club deserves some credit for thinking outside the box .
“It would’ve been easy for them to get another coach in but they’ve went slightly different.”
Malpas is a born and bred Fifer, having grown up in Dunfermline, and feels he has a clear understanding of the Kirkcaldy club’s history and tradition.
“It’s one of the clubs I can relate to,” he stressed. “You look at clubs like Raith and Falkirk that nearly went to the wall, and they’ve maybe lost a wee bit of their identity because of that.
“A lot of fires have had to be put out, but they’re on an even keel now, and I think it’s a case of just working away and trying and get a team together that can be up the top of the Championship.
“Fans would rather be at the top of league and that’s something we want to try and give them - but it won’t happen overnight.”
Malpas has told fans not to read too much into his director of football title, explaining: “They had to give me something and they weren’t very sure what to give me!
“Forget about titles - I’m here to help everybody. I’m not coming here just to take the training or speak nicely to everyboy in the boardroom, I’m coming here to help.
“I’ve got that bit of experience that means I can offer an opinion and if they like it, they like it, if they don’t, they don’t. I can’t force things on anybody.
“It won’t be my decision what to change. I’ll just be in the background giving opinions and nudging people.”
Chairman: We had to support the management team
The arrival of Maurice Malpas at Raith Rovers was the outcome of the first meeting between newly appointed chairman, Alan Young, and the management team.
Mr Young explained: “Two-and-a-half years ago we, as a board, put Grant and Laurie into their first jobs in management, and we’ve not really given them a huge amount of support since.
“Paul Smith was there as a part-time assistant manager - but his situation meant that his involvement became less and less to the extent that he was only coming in on Saturdays and that was it.
“We sat down as board with Grant and Laurie and threw some names around, but Maurice was the one where everyone stopped and agreed. After meeting Maurice we just felt it was right.
“The director of football title was one we felt was most appropriate for what we saw Maurice doing - providing a link between the management team and the board going forward.”
Grant Murray, who was a keen driver behind Malpas’ arrival, said he was delighted with the appointment, adding: “The role he is going to play is good for the club. It’s going to help myself and Laurie, and will move the club forward in different directions.”