Leeann Dempster is being tipped to turn Queen’s Park into kings after taking over as chief executive at Lesser Hampden.
She has been given the role as part of the bold bid by the Spiders – backed by Lord Willie Haughey – to make a major impact on the Scottish scene after more than 150 years as gallant amateurs.
Head coach Ray McKinnon has been given a Championship-style budget to try to drive a rise up the divisions, and they have yet to lose a game, leading League Two with seven wins and two draws.
And two men who worked closely with Dempster in her previous roles at Fir Park and Easter Road – Alan Burrows and Alan Stubbs – reckon it’s a masterstroke.
Motherwell chief executive Burrows, said: “I owe it all to Leeann. She basically taught me the business side of the club.
“We were actually trying to get Hugh Dallas for the role back in 2007, but he couldn’t make it work due to his UEFA and FIFA refereeing commitments.
“So one of the directors, Ian Stillie, took over, but only for a short period until Leeann replaced him.
“I was working on the communication and PR for the club, so we liaised very closely for a good number of years, and she was kind enough to give me a real insight into running that side of things.
“She’d been with John Boyle’s Zoom Airlines, and came in initially in a consultancy role. We seemed to hit it off immediately.
“We had similar views on how to run a football club, and similar views on society in general.
“We became friendly, and we remain friendly to this day.”
It was Dempster – along with head of football operations, George Craig – that convinced Hibs to charge Stubbs with resurrecting the Easter Road club in 2014 after their disastrous relegation under Terry Butcher.
Within two years, the Leith side ended their agonising 114-year wait for Scottish Cup glory with Stubbs as manager, and the following season, under Neil Lennon, they won promotion back to the Premiership.
Stubbs said: “Leeann was a brilliant chief executive, by far the best I’ve ever worked with.
“She did an amazing job at Hibs, considering what she inherited to what’s she’s just left.
“The club is in a fantastic position compared to when she took over, and a lot of credit must go to Leeann in terms of the people she brought in, and the structure she put in place.
“She always went that extra mile to help me with anything I wanted to do, whether it was bringing in backroom staff or player transfers.
“It was the same with trying to sign players. She went that extra mile, particularly when we brought in Scott Allan.
“And she stayed strong when Rangers were trying to sign him when both clubs were in the Championship.
“So I will always be grateful for that because we just couldn’t sell one of our key assets to our biggest rival.”
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