Queen’s Park may be the last bastion of amateur football in senior leagues in the United Kingdom, however it is the professionalism of the club that attracted former St Mirren and Queen of the South manager Gus MacPherson to them.
MacPherson was yesterday appointed as the new head coach at the Spiders, a month after the long-serving Gardner Speirs left, and the 45-year-old had no qualms about stepping down to the lowest tier of Scottish football to take on the job.
After being out of work since May 2012, after his stint at Palmerston ended, MacPherson has busied himself with media work, however the chance to lead a club again, and not just any club, was too much for MacPherson to resist.
“Some people have already asked me why am I going to League 2 but people in football know why I am coming here,” he said. “It is because it is Queen’s Park. The club makes this job very special indeed. It is a club with an incredible history and one that has good values attached to it.
“When the opportunity came up to apply for the job I was not concerned about the league position, all I wanted was the chance to be the head coach here. Queen’s Park are well known as a terrific club and, whilst they may be amateurs in terms of not paying players to play football, everything else about them is professional. The first team are maybe a bit adrift at the foot of the table just now but they will come back.”
The professionalism that attracted MacPherson stretched to the interview process. It consisted of two rounds of interviewing and a detailed presentation over what MacPherson felt he could do to lift Scotland’s oldest club out of tenth place.
The price of getting it wrong is a tough one as next season sees the introduction of play-offs that could see a League 2 side drop out of senior football.
“It was a tough and rigorous process to go through that tested all the candidates involved. It was not a case of turn up and say here I am and here is what I have done,” MacPherson said.
“My former assistant manager Andy Millen played here and I spoke to him about the club and I took in a game recently as well so that started my research off. I was delighted that my hard work paid off and that I was offered the chance to come here.”
MacPherson has started looking to change things already, saying: “I have the chance to do a couple of pieces of business before the close of the transfer window. Hopefully I will be able to do that and if possible add some experience to the squad.”
Committee member Richard Sinclair, who has taken the team since Speirs left by mutual consent just before Christmas, will prepare the side for facing league leaders Peterhead this weekend.
MacPherson will be in the dugout at Balmoor and he maintains he is happy to take a back seat until training starts next Monday, however after over a year and a half out of the game he does not sound too convincing that he will.
“Richard will take the team and will pick the team,” MacPherson said. “He knows the players better than I do and they won on Saturday so there is no need to dive in and start changing things. I will be in the dugout looking at how things are going and, of course, if I see anything that I think I can alter positively I will mention it.”
As well as looking for experience, MacPherson will continue to look inwards at the Hampden production line of young talent
“They lost a lot of players during the summer and you cannot forget the great job Gardner Speirs did here for five years before that,” he said. “His sides were always challenging and there are players up and down the country grateful for getting a start at Queen’s Park.
“Although it is disappointing when they leave, especially en masse as they did in the summer, there is more talent coming through. Young players have been given a chance here and I am sure that will continue.”