Dunfermline Athletic manager Jim Jefferies last night penned a new two-year deal with the East End Park club, before admitting it could represent his final contract of a management career spanning four decades.
Jefferies, 63, revealed he initially planned to quit the dugout at the age of 62, but has been re-energised by the task of rebuilding a youthful Pars side from the ashes of administration.
His new contract, which is back-dated to September, takes him to the summer of 2015 – which will be 32 years on from taking up his first management role with Borders clubs Hawick Royal Albert in 1983.
By that point, Jefferies – who went on to manage Berwick Rangers, Falkirk, Hearts twice, Bradford and Kilmarnock – expects to be ready to pack away his tactics board for good, although he has not ruled out remaining in football in some capacity.
“I have really enjoyed my time at Dunfermline and, before I came to this club, I never envisioned myself staying in the game until 2015,” he said. “But the new owners, Pars United, were keen for me to stay and I am excited about the challenge of getting the club back to where it belongs.”
He added, with a smile: “The new contract lasts for another 18 months and hopefully by that time I’ll have had enough. There’s nothing cast in stone but I had sort of wanted to go until I was about 62. Well, my 63rd birthday has just past and I will be a few months short of 65 at the end of this contract – so that should be that.
“I certainly don’t see myself as a Sir Alex Ferguson or a Craig Brown... our training ground at Pitreavie doesn’t have the facilities for a 70-year-old manager!
“I’m not saying I wouldn’t stay in football, but maybe in the management side that would be a good way to end. We’ll see and I’ll make that decision nearer the time.”
Former Scotland international Neil McCann has also agreed to carry on as Jefferies’ assistant, albeit his contract is a more flexible one to take into account his television commitments as a Sky pundit.
And the veteran coach believes he could be grooming McCann and current player/under-20s coach John Potter into his natural successors.
“Hopefully Neil [McCann] and John [Potter] continue to learn here and, if they are successful, may be in a position to take things over eventually,” he continued.
“Part of the job is to try and teach those young coaches whatever I can with a view to them becoming top managers one day.
“Neil has shown a great desire to work for this club – training the players and working as my assistant for free when the club was in administration, so it is great that he will continue to be on board.
“And John, by taking the youth side to the SFA Youth Cup final last year, has already proved he has a lot of potential as a coach.”
Jefferies, meanwhile, admits new SPFL rules have put paid to any plans he has to extend both Jordan Moore and Ryan Ferguson’s loan deals from Dundee United.
Jefferies brought the pair in from Tannadice during the summer on six-month deals along with United youngster Luke Johnston, who has since returned to his parent club, before the newly-formed SPFL had rubber-stamped the new league regulations.
But the new rules which are now in place state that teams are only permitted to sign one player from one club on temporary terms.
Striker Moore’s eight goals have helped the Pars cement a promotion play-off place, while fellow forward Ferguson has netted just once.
Jefferies said: “We’re going to lose a couple, I think. We had three boys on loan and Dundee United did us a big favour there as it was not costing the club a lot anyway.
“We have Ferguson and Moore, although the rules now are that you can’t sign any more than one player from one team. We have these boys till the end of January, a few days before the window closes and if one of them has to go back, it means that our numbers are just a bit down. We will try and look to do something.”