Former Rangers player Steven Whittaker explains why he joined Celtic legend Scott Brown at Fleetwood

Steven Whittaker says his long-standing friendship with Scott Brown was a key factor in joining him as assistant manager at Fleetwood Town.

Steve Whittaker and Scott Brown, pictured in 2004 when playing for Hibs.
Steve Whittaker and Scott Brown, pictured in 2004 when playing for Hibs.

Brown was appointed on Thursday by the Cod Army as their new boss, with Whittaker – previously a coach at Dunfermline – confirmed as his No 2. The duo came through the ranks together at Hibs and stayed close despite Brown heading to Celtic and Whittaker to Rangers.

"Scott was the pull,” admitted Whittaker. “But this is an ambitious club and we have a fairly blank canvas regarding the squad.

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"When you come through youth teams, those tend to be the boys you keep in touch with.

"In those days, you'd finish training, go to the pool halls, mess about. We were always together and it was a really good group.

"Me and Scott hit it off. The families get on really well now too.

"We went our separate ways when we left Hibs but we still kept our relationship going. “our relationship played a big part in where we are now.”

Whittaker will hope to watch his old team in the Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt – the 37-year-old reached the same stage in 2008 before losing to Zenit – and believes they can go one step further.

"They have every chance,” added Whittaker. "They have put in some great performances in the competition.

"They put out the favourites and beat two German sides who are higher in the league than Frankfurt.

"It's an opportunity that is there. They need a little bit of luck on the day, but this team is more than capable of winning the final."