As a lifelong Rangers fan, Scott Dalziel admits he is finding it ‘weird’ that Barry Ferguson has gone from his playing idol to his club manager.
But the striker is convinced the former Rangers and Scotland skipper can help Kelty Hearts complete their rise from junior football to the SPFL.The Lowland League outfit yesterday confirmed Ferguson as their new boss in a stunning move that will undoubtedly raise the profile of the ambitious Fifers.
The 40-year-old, who will be assisted by former Ibrox colleague Bob Malcolm, has confessed to being ‘blown away’ by Kelty and sees the club as the perfect opportunity to return to management for the first time since leaving Clyde in February 2017.
Dalziel, the former East Fife and Cowdenbeath marksman, admits the Kelty Hearts dressing room shares the excitement Ferguson insists he has for his new club.
The 32-year-old said: “The club has done brilliantly to get a big name like Barry Ferguson to apply for the job, first and foremost.
“We had heard a few whispers he was going to get the job but we didn’t really think it was going to happen, but the boys are now buzzing that it has been announced.
“I didn’t get to play against the new manager but as a Rangers fan I was obviously a massive fan of him. Growing up, it was the Dick Advocaat days that I watched, when he was captain and playing around massive European players, like Lorenzo Amoruso, Jorg Albertz and those kinds of players.
“So, it’s great to have him on board. After watching him for years and years I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s going to bring and what kind of character he is and what changes he’s going to make.
“All the boys on the WhatsApp group are buzzing and really excited. He is a hero to the boys that have been Rangers fans all their days.
“To a lot of them they’re really looking forward to it, as I am.
“It will be interesting to see how many of the boys are wanting autographs and all that sort of the stuff. It will be weird.”
Ferguson replaces Tam Courts, who stunned the Kelty players by quitting the club last week after five years in charge. His shock decision came despite Hearts sitting top of the Lowland League after just one defeat from their opening nine league games.
Dalziel admits Courts’ departure adversely affected the squad in last weekend’s South Challenge Cup defeat to East Stirlingshire.
But, with Ferguson due to take over next week after tomorrow’s Scottish Cup second-round tie away to Peterhead, he admits there is still a huge buzz around the club as they seek to follow Edinburgh City into League Two just over a year since leaving the Juniors behind.
Dalziel, who helped with training after Courts’ exit. added: “It’s been a weird couple of weeks. Tam deciding it was time to go and try a different challenge was a bit of a shock to the boys.
“But to go from where we’ve come from to getting Barry Ferguson in as manager is incredible.
“He’s won everything in the Scottish game and knows a good player when he sees one. I’m sure he’ll bring a lot of good stuff to the table for Kelty and it will be really enjoyable.
“In the space of a few years we’ve come right through the juniors and then joined the East of Scotland and been promoted to the Lowland League. It shows the ambitions of the club.
“It’s well-documented that Kelty are wanting to get up to league football as soon as possible. That’s not changed. The manager that has left has left on good terms and with the team flying.
“So, the new gaffer will come in here and add a bit of experience and continue the journey, basically.”
Ferguson will be formally unveiled to the media next week after leaving coaches Murray McDowell and Dave McNeely in charge for the trip to Peterhead tomorrow in an attempt to avoid disrupting plans for the cup tie.
A statement read: “Kelty Hearts Football Club are delighted to announce Barry Ferguson as our new first-team manager.
“Barry will start fully on Tuesday when he will take his first training session. He will be assisted by Bob Malcolm, Murray McDowell and Dave McNeely.
“A big thanks must go to Murray, Dave and the senior players for taking the team the last seven days. They will continue to do so for Saturday’s big match.
“Barry wants as little disruption as possible to allow all the coaches, staff and players to remain focused.”