DAVID Fernandez last night tipped Jackie McNamara to be a success at Dundee United – and insisted he has got the required ruthless streak to be a top manager.
Fernandez was thrilled to hear his former Celtic team-mate had been appointed the Tannadice club’s new manager by chairman Stephen Thompson after beating off stiff competition to land the vacant post. The pair were close friends between 2002-05 and Spaniard Fernandez will never forget the way McNamara took him under his wing at Celtic Park.
Former United ace Fernandez, now a foreign scout with English Premiership champions Manchester City, is convinced McNamara will take his old club by storm and told them not to be duped by his “Mr Nice Guy” image.
He said: “Jackie is the best appointment Dundee United could have made. He is a really decent guy who everyone likes. But don’t think for a minute he is soft at all. It would be a huge mistake to think that, just because he’s a nice person, that he’s not ruthless. He is a very strong-willed character who has played at the top level both domestically and for his country, so he knows what it takes to get success.
“Jackie won’t tolerate any slackness because he’s the ultimate professional. He is a guy who demands the best from everyone all the time so his standards will never drop, which Dundee United are about to find out. Jackie will control the dressing-room the way he sees fit because he’s played under some top managers like Martin O’Neill.
“So he has experienced at first-hand what it takes to be successful and a lot of that will run off on his new club.”
Fernandez clinched a dream move to the Hoops in 2002, but didn’t always hit top form due to injury, although the Spaniard has revealed how McNamara never let him lose hope.
He said: “He was my best mate at Celtic and we’re still very friendly.
“Whenever I was a little bit down there he was always there to pick me up. We travelled through to Parkhead together from Edinburgh and he was like a mentor to me during those journeys.”