Recently appointed Assistant Manager at Stenhousemuir, Kevin McGoldrick, is determined to make as much as possible of his coaching and management career after being left with a sense of frustration over how his playing career turned out.
McGoldrick, promoted from the club’s youth department to work alongside new boss David Irons at the end of last year, said: “I was a Scottish internationalist as a youth player and was signed by Dundee. I should have done better than I did and I feel that I have the chance to do that now.
“My playing days never went the way I wanted them to as I had to quit at the end of season 1999/2000 because of a knee injury. It was not too bad a way to go out as I was part of the Queen’s Park team that won the Third Division Championship.”
McGoldrick picked up further silverware at Hampden all the same as he explained: “I did not quite fully listen to the advice I was given and played on in amateur leagues for a couple of years.
“I played with Harestanes and we won the Scottish Amateur Cup twice so I went back to my old ground and picked up a couple of winners’ medals although I probably should not have been playing.”
After he finally stopped playing, McGoldrick started taking the Queen’s Park Under 14 side and worked his way up to managing their Under 17 side.
McGoldrick added: “That initial spell whetted my appetite for that side of the game and I was working with some good young players. Steven Saunders, who is now at Motherwell, was there and he has also gone on to play for Scotland.
“Jonathan Tiffoney down at Ayr was another Hampden boy at that time and he played with Scotland Under 21s in a bounce game recently.
“Paul Gallacher, who has been in the Queen’s Park first team for the past year, was another one that I worked with at Under 17 level.”
Despite their ability, The Spiders’ youngsters blew a big chance for silverware with McGoldrick lamenting: “It was a really good side and we suffered only two defeats in the League all season but we let ourselves down badly in the SFL Youth League Cup Final at Cowdenbeath. We had beaten them comprehensively in the League but never got going in that game and lost 1-0 at Tayport Juniors ground.
“I was devastated by that result but it is all part of your learning curve.”
After Queen’s Park, Campbell Money took McGoldrick to Stenhousemuir to look after the Warriors Under 17 team and then their Under 19 side and he remains glad of the move.
He said: “Everything so far has followed a logical progression in my coaching career and the Stenhousemuir Assistant Manager’s job is another step.”
It was a step he was not expecting with McGoldrick saying: “It was sad that John Coughlin resigned as I feel he was disadvantaged because of strikers missing through injury and illness.
“Simon Lynch never kicked a ball, Alex Williams was floored by a mystery virus and Scott Dalziel had a damaged knee.
“Under John, Stenhousemuir had the second best defensive record in the division but couldn’t score goals.
“Graeme Robertson and I took over to hold the fort and based on what we had seen during our couple of weeks in charge, I applied for the job and was interviewed for it.
“I thought the interview went well but David got the job and you could not really complain about that based on the experience he has.”
There was a silver lining with McGoldrick explaining: “I must have done well as the Board at Stenhousemuir suggested that David and I have a chat about the Assistant Manager’s position. Within 10 minutes, he had offered me the job and whilst I am starting again in my learning curve, it is fine as I still have plenty to learn.”
The 38-year-old will not be sitting quietly learning as he explained: “One good thing is that I am not scared to ask for opinions. I also have a diverse background as not only did I have my youth work, I also did some work for the Daily Record in covering the Junior scene.
“I was also involved in the Scottish International Junior squad with Keith Burgess and I built up a really strong network of contacts. Grant Anderson was starring for Rob Roy and I was able to do a lot of work in ensuring that Stenhousemuir were able to bring him here last summer.”
Stenhousemuir may just benefit from a really motivated management team with McGoldrick saying: “David has been great so far for the team and he may just feel that Stenhousemuir is an opportunity to prove something to people in football after his experiences at Gretna and Morton.
“He has never said anything but I get the sense that he really wants to prove a point.
“Our first game in charge was just after New Year and we lost 3-2 to Alloa but we picked ourselves up quickly from that.
“We won the next two matches in the League before having a disappointing run that saw us knocked out of the Scottish Cup and lose four games in a row.
“That was a difficult wee run,” said McGoldrick before adding: “It started at Ayr where the 4-3 scoreline flattered us a bit but by the time the final game in that run happened at Livingston, we were playing really well. We lost that game 2-1 but I am sure that no-one at Livingston would say that they were much better than Stenhousemuir that day.”
McGoldrick has learnt the importance of results quickly saying: “I am a great believer in asking the boys to get the ball down and pass it but I now know that sometimes it does not have to be pretty; it sometimes just has to be effective.”
McGoldrick uses the form of striker Scott Dalziel and his contribution to the Ochilview side’s two wins in a row against Peterhead and Ayr United as an example.
He said: “If you look at a lot of the sides in this division, they benefit from having a big striker playing for them. Livingston have Kenny Deuchar, Forfar utilise Chris Templeman and East Fife have started using Jim Hamilton as well and Scott does that for us and does it well.
“He has been great in our last few games and given real leading line performances and been rewarded with a couple of goals.
“He was injured for most of the first half of the season but we are seeing the benefits of him being available to David Irons and I.”
The Warriors have two tough games in the space of three days coming up as they travel to Brechin City on Saturday before facing Livingston next Tuesday with McGoldrick saying: “The games are coming thick and fast but I am really enjoying it.
“I believe that David and I have settled in well and the initial three weeks I had in charge with Robbo has certainly helped. I got to know the players then but unfortunately, we never got to take them in a game situation.
“Mind you, that could have either enhanced or ruined my application!”
Despite the short time in his new position, McGoldrick has moved up his learning curve saying: “The relationship with the Manager is key and you only need to look at what happened last week at Port Vale to see what happens when that relationship does not work out.
“David does not want a yes man and that suits me as I have an opinion on most things and so far, things are working for us.”
“The other lesson is getting beat hits you harder. At youth level, it is not all about winning but at first team level it is.
“You take it home with you but again David is teaching me ways to cope with disappointments better.
“All in all, I am gaining great experience and I know I will keep on learning.”