Stenhousemuir dispensed with the services of manager Scott Booth yesterday after less than a year in charge. His predecessor, Martyn Corrigan, meanwhile, is busy getting his coaching career back on track in his role as assistant manager at Stirling Albion, one of the sides who could capitalise on the Warriors’ slide down the league.
Former Scotland striker Booth, who left his job with the SFA last February to replace Corrigan shortly after leading Scotland Under-17s to the Victory Shield, had his disappointing tenure brought to an end after a 2-0 loss at Peterhead on Saturday left Stenhousemuir eighth in League One.
Just over a year previously, Corrigan met the same fate after four successive defeats. Until that bad run last January, Corrigan felt his 18-month reign had been a successful one. He said: “I am still surprised by the decision as it was the only time there where we had a wobble if you can call it that. I felt that my assistant Kevin McGoldrick and I had been successful but I am too long in the tooth to take things personally.”
In his time in charge at Ochilview, Corrigan led the Warriors to a League Cup success at Kilmarnock in his first season before taking Inverness to extra time in the next round, with his squad putting in Stenhousemuir’s strongest-ever challenge for promotion since four leagues of football was introduced in 1996. In his second season, the Warriors reached the semi-finals of the Ramsdens Cup and were in the last 16 of the Scottish Cup when he was dismissed.
The former Motherwell and Falkirk defender at least had a pleasant distraction to take his mind off the pain of losing his first managerial job. “I did not have too much time to worry about it as within a week of losing my job, my wife Stacy had given birth to our third child, Rachel,” said Corrigan. “With two boys, Marty and Alexander, already I was able to spend time with them and accept that everything in life happens for a reason. You may not always know the reason, however.”
Corrigan used what little spare time he had wisely. “I had to look inside myself and see how I could improve.”
Fate intervened in the summer as Corrigan met the man who would eventually offer him a route back into football. He explained: “I went down to Largs to do a coaching course and that is where I met Stuart McLaren.
“We bonded down there, our coaching styles worked well together and we talked about working together if the chance came. After that I went and watched a lot of games and had to wait for an opportunity and I got that as Stuart’s assistant at Stirling.”
McLaren had only a brief spell as a player in Scotland and he developed his reputation for playing and coaching in Australia before taking up the role as head football coach at Loughborough University.
McLaren and Corrigan took the reins at Forthbank in November, with the Binos having made a disappointing start to their season after winning promotion via the play-offs under Greig McDonald. Results have been slow in picking up under the new management team, but Corrigan remains confident that there will be an upturn.
Corrigan said: “The players have been terrific with us and bought in quickly to what Stuart and I were trying to do. The board have backed us and the fans are also on board. Performances have helped that and given the fans hope that we can stay up but we should have had more points from the open and attacking performances we have put in.”
Stirling remain six points adrift of Ayr at the foot of the table and are eight points behind third-bottom Stenhousemuir. Corrigan insists he has no burning desire to inflict any particular damage on his old club.
“We can definitely stay up and our performances over the last six weeks have shown that,” he said. “I don’t have a desire to get one over Stenhousemuir any more than I have a desire to get one over any team.
“There is no animosity and I do not really care who finishes in tenth spot as long as it is not us. I have been at a few teams and left a few teams but I have never fallen out with anyone. That is not my style.”