IF fate had been kind to Todd Lumsden, he would be leading Albion Rovers down the Ibrox tunnel for a place in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup on what would be his greatest moment in football.
However, now he is set to play an active role in shattering the dreams of the Coatbridge part-timers who are in the last eight for the first time in 80 years. Lumsden was sacked as Rovers manager at the end of last season and was replaced by his assistant James Ward, which is still a source of disappointment. But his dismissal led to a great opportunity within the Rangers’ Youth Academy and now he is ready to hand over a dossier of information to Ally McCoist on his old club.
Lumsden, who coaches the under-17s at Murray Park, is pleased that his old club will have their day in the sun.And he can take some of the credit as many of the players he bossed last season are still there, including Cup hero Gary Phillips, who scored the sensational winner against Motherwell in the third round and netted the clincher against Stenhousemuir last Saturday in round five.
The 36-year-old, who had two playing spells at Cliftonhill, only had one season as manager and paid the price for relegation to League 2. He said: “I’m not jealous of James leading the team out at Ibrox. You can’t spend your life looking backwards. I brought James in as my assistant. He hung around after I was let go. He put his name forward for the job and ultimately they offered him the job. .
“I actually thought I would be there this season because they had talked about me staying on but they obviously changed their minds. They said they wanted to go in a different direction and that’s the club’s prerogative. But I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to take forward what I started. However, as one door closes another one opens because if I hadn’t had that opportunity with Albion then I wouldn’t be with the under-17s at Rangers.”
Lumsden, who is Curriculum Manager for Sport at the Broadwood Campus of New College Lanarkshire, was assistant to Paul Martin before replacing him in 2012 when he resigned for health reasons.
He said: “I signed there in 1999 which seems like a lifetime ago and I actually had one season full time which was one of the reasons that lured me there. I then moved to Hamilton and Raith and I came back when Paul Martin was the manager and he gave me the opportunity to be a playing assistant which was great. So I have lots of things to be thankful to the club for. They are obviously a small operation and they have been run single-handedly by Frank Meade who has kept them alive, really, before he managed to hand over the reins to a new chairman. So I’m delighted for him that they have been on this Cup run and they are no going to Ibrox.
“In all the time I was there as a player, assistant or manager we never had the luck of the draw to pull a big team.
“So it will be a great occasion for the club and for the supporters who have stuck by them through thick and thin.”