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Former Ross County and Dundee boss Jim McIntyre can’t wait to get back out there on the old familiar trail again

© SNS GroupJim McIntyre won the League Cup with Ross County in 2016.
Jim McIntyre won the League Cup with Ross County in 2016.

As an out-of-work football manager in the middle of a pandemic, former Ross County and Dundee boss Jim McIntyre is doing everything he can to get himself out there.

Speaking ahead of the Staggies’ clash with Rangers today, he says it is an attitude young players at both halves of the Old Firm need to adopt for the good of their careers.

“This a difficult time. If you look at today’s game in Dingwall, for example, it would normally have been a tremendous occasion with the ground packed to the rafters,” said McIntyre

“However, if you look at the Premiership, there is loads going on.

“Rangers are on fire at the minute and Celtic are doing what Celtic do. They just know how to win games.

“Hibs can be pleased with their start to the season – Jack Ross has done a terrific job for them.

“Up at Aberdeen, Derek McInnes has had another excellent start as well. To come back from a European defeat and put on that performance against County where it could have been six or seven says a lot.

“I think a big part of their success is down to Ross McCrorie, who has been a fantastic signing for Aberdeen.

“He is a player I have always liked myself. He is versatile but he has got that athleticism and energy, and don’t forget he has got the quality to go with it as well.

“More importantly, I think he should be a real inspiration to any kid at the Old Firm.

“If they have been sent out on loan and come back to find they are not in the first-team picture then don’t hang about, get yourself out there and go play football.

“That is important because ultimately they might not be deemed good enough for Celtic and Rangers but they can go and have a great career.

“We took Marcus Fraser from Celtic, and he was a stalwart for us who went on to captain Ross County. They were desperate to keep him but he wanted to leave.

“There is a path there because they are well coached at Celtic and Rangers. They have proper values and you can pick up some real good players there.

“We did the same with Jackson Irvine and sold him for a sizable fee down to Burton Albion.

“It is a very good avenue for managers of Premiership clubs and top Championship teams to look at what is in the reserves at Rangers and Celtic because there are a lot of good players who just need an opportunity.

“With the demands at the OId Firm, unless you are really special you are not going to get that game time.”

The 48-year-old intends to be equally proactive himself.

He has been keeping track of the game remotely. But with the lower-league clubs returning to action, he hopes to get back to grounds working as a scout.

“As a manager you are going to face periods where you are out of work, so you need to make sure you are active and on the ball,” McIntyre went on.

“The big difference with lockdown was that I couldn’t get to games because the league got suspended.

“And, of course, when it finished early it made it that much more difficult to get a job, because there would have been managers who were possibly under severe pressure and there might have been a couple of openings come up.

“In some ways it has been a free pass for those guys, and fair play to them.

“You just have to be really patient. There is a lot going on in the world and you have to be thankful you are all right.

“So, in the meantime, I am looking to get back in with some scouting. But the crowd restrictions at all grounds just now make that a wee bit more difficult.

“I’ll be getting back out to games to see what is happening. I want to see the look of teams this year and what systems the managers are using and so on.”

The return of all Scotland’s clubs is, McIntyre says, a prospect to relish.

“It has been a long break and everyone will be desperate to get back on to the field. I am sure the players must have found it quite hard,” he said.

“Don’t forget the boost these games give to the supporters and their communities. It has been well documented the toll this has taken in terms of mental health.

“People have been struggling and football is a release. People like to see their teams and get their enjoyment from that.

“Equally players love fans being in the stadiums. That is not going to happen for a while and we are just going to have to suck that up.”