Dave Bowman last night tipped Ray McKinnon to be a smash-hit as Dundee United’s new manager – because his past proves he is driven to be a boss.
The Tannadice club are on the verge of appointing Raith Rovers boss McKinnon after stepping up their efforts to land the 45-year-old Dundonian in the wake of Mixu Paatelainen’s sacking.
McKinnon, a fans’ favourite during his playing days with the Tangerines, has been identified by chairman Stephen Thompson as the ideal figure to turn things round at the turbulent Tayside club as they aim for a quick-fire return to the top-flight following their recent relegation.
Former SFA technical development officer McKinnon left his role with the country’s governing body back in 2012 to cut his managerial teeth with Brechin, and since then the ex-United midfielder has earned a reputation for being one of the most upcoming managers around.
Bowman believes his former Tannadice team-mate has all the required attributes to prove a roaring success in the Taysiders’ hotseat.
Bowman, currently a coach at United, said: “Raymond has done brilliantly at Brechin and latterly at Raith Rovers.
“I have known him since he arrived at Tannadice as a kid, only 16 years old.
“I used to tell him that he had more ability in his pinkie than I had in my whole body and I played 800 games and was capped six times by Scotland.
“I remember one game in particular when he was about to take a corner with his right foot and he changed to his left at the last minute.
“Everybody thought he was being cocky but he wasn’t – it was just that he didn’t have a weaker foot.
“He also famously scored a hat-trick of free-kicks in a game against Kilmarnock and I can tell you he mentions that now and again!
“He should have done more as a player and certainly should have played for Scotland. Sometimes, though, guys with bucket-loads of ability maybe don’t do themselves justice. Maybe that has helped him as a manager, though, because you can see your own pitfalls as a player and perhaps pass on advice to others. What I would say, as well, was that he wasn’t a tearaway – far from it. He was just a young boy.
“I haven’t worked under him as a manager so I don’t know what he will be like but he knows how to get the best out of the players he has.
“Also, tactically, I believe he is very good. I saw Brechin a number of times when he was there and he you could see that he is tactically very astute.
“I don’t know who will get the job but he would have to be up there as a candidate to be considered by the club. He ticks all the boxes and has gone up through the ranks from the juniors to the Championship.
“Also, he had a cosy number with the SFA but jacked that in to become Brechin manager.
“Indeed, someone I respect, Donald Park, also spoke highly of Ray when he was at the SFA.
“He left that post to take on the Brechin job and that showed he was confident in his ability to be a manager.”
Meanwhile, Bowman is gearing up for Friday night’s Fans v Legends match at Tannadice in aid of skin cancer charities.
The legends, including Bowman, McKinnon, Gary Bollan, Grant Johnson, Lee Wilkie and Jon Daly, will play against a fans’ select and the family of Ally Watt – who sadly died of skin cancer seven years ago – have again donated a trophy for this year’s match.
Bowman said: “It’s a good one for the fans as they get to play on Tannadice.
“Also, the supporters who think football is easy maybe find out that’s not the case!”