McBride: It was a no-brainer to come to Raith

Kevin McBride pictured in action for Raith against current club mate Mark Stewart in a match against Falkirk in 2011. Pic: Neil Doig
Kevin McBride pictured in action for Raith against current club mate Mark Stewart in a match against Falkirk in 2011. Pic: Neil Doig

Kevin McBride has already tasted life in the managerial hot seat, but he admitted he jumped at the chance to become number two to John Hughes at Raith Rovers.

When Airdrie manager Eddie Wolecki suffered a stroke towards the end of last season, McBride was promoted from coaching the under 20s to being in charge of the first team.

But his tenure proved brief as, come October, and despite Airdrie sitting fourth in League One, McBride was removed from his position and replaced by a new management team of Gordon Dalziel and Mark Wilson.

It was a sour end to his first taste of management, so he is more than happy to take a step back and become assistant to a man, and a club, he knows well from his past.

“I didn’t even need to think about it,” he said. “As soon as I had the chance to come and work with the gaffer, and with the club, it was a no-brainer.

“Things happen in football, and I don’t want to start saying this or that about the way things worked out at Airdrie.

“I took the job in difficult circumstances. It was unfortunate what happened to Eddie, but when I took over I said I would do it my way or I wouldn’t be there.

“If I wanted to work in a different way then I would still be at Airdrie, but I’ve moved on. It’s a great club with great people and I still look for their results, but everything I do now is focused on Raith Rovers.”

McBride will have a fair idea what he is getting involved with at Stark’s Park having played under Hughes at Falkirk and Hibs, and had a brief loan spell at Raith under John McGlynn at the end of the 2010-11 season.

However, despite their previous relationship, he admits that he has seen Yogi in a new light now that he is his coaching partner.

“As a player you know how good a manager he is because you love his training,” he said. “But it’s totally different when you go into the coaching side and work with him.

“You see how good a football brain he’s got. He comes across as a big daft centre-half, but he’s so intelligent tactically, with set plays and how to work out formations, and the way he puts his training programmes on.

“I was a young manager at Airdrie and you think you’re doing well. It’s not until you’ve worked with someone like the gaffer that you realise all the mistakes you made because you see the way he works. He’s streets ahead.

“I’m learning every day, along with the players, and it’s fantastic. I think there are a lot of young managers out there who would throw away a manager’s job to come work with the gaffer.”

McBride also has fond memories of his loan spell at Raith despite narrowly missing out on promotion to the SPL after a derby defeat in a title-decider at Dunfermline.

“It was a good team under John and Smudger (Paul Smith),” he recalled. “We were hard to beat and very hard-working. It maybe wasn’t a great team to watch in terms of flowing football, but they were good solid unit. John had everybody organised and knew what they were doing. “

Hughes and McBride have inherited a long winless run from the previous management team, as well as a precarious league position, but McBride has been encouraged by his first fortnight in the job.

“The boys are great,” he said. “They work hard, are enthusiastic, and you can see them listening to everything the manager is saying.

“They are maybe in false position in the league, but there’s a lot of good teams in the league as well. Places like Queen of the South and Dumbarton are all hard to go and get a win.

“We want to get that first win, but first of all, we want to get the boys organised and playing the style the manager wants them to play.

“If they do that, results will take care of themselves. We can’t go out saying we need a win because everybody needs a win.

“The boys have just got to listen in every day and work hard, and they’re doing that.”