THIS week has seen two casualties from the ranks of Scottish Football managers as Jim McIntyre and Peter Houston both proved that the past doesn’t count for much in the modern game.
Falkirk parted company with 59-year-old Houston after three years at the central-Scotland club. In his time at the club, the former-Dundee United manager steered the Bairns to two second-place finishes and a Scottish Cup final. However, after a poor start to the season, he was shown the door.
Ross County decided that 45-year-old McIntyre and his assistant Billy Dodds had failed to perform as expected given the higher budget given to them this season. However, McIntyre, who won a major trophy for the tiny Dingwall club, was always fighting an uphill battle since Jackson Irvine left the club in 2016.
He managed to compensate for the loss through Liam Boyce, who’s goals carried the side to safety last term. But he too departed for Burton Albion in the summer with County raking in £500,000.
McIntyre’s League Cup triumph in 2016 with County will forever be a crowning moment in the club’s history after dumping both Celtic and Hibs out to claim the spoils. Along with this, the side finished sixth and seventh in two of his three seasons.
The question is now, who replaces these two stalwarts of the game?
Well, firstly, there is a chance that the boards of both teams may look at the candidates that were sacked on the same day the vacancy was opened as potential managers for their side.
Granted, McIntyre would be taking a step-down with all due respect to Falkirk. Financially they are in a sound environment and have a good squad that could challenge for the play-offs. He is a proven manager in the Premiership but could see Falkirk as an opportunity due to their new stadium, good facilities and it would also be more of a central base of operations for McIntyre, who had to juggle family life in Dunblane with work life between Inverness and Dingwall.
Peter Houston likewise could be a good fit for the Staggies, he has a vast knowledge of the Scottish game and young players after his time as a scout for Celtic and in his own managerial experience. However, comments made by Houston suggest he may not be up for a return to management immediately.
Alan Stubbs – Unemployed
Stubbs became a serious contender for any job in Scottish football after taking Hibs to the play-offs, the League Cup final and the Scottish Cup Final in his two seasons. The latter which he won in dramatic fashion against Rangers in 2016 to end the Hibees 114-year wait for the cup. His time at Celtic made him a household name within the game, as well as winning his battles with cancer. Stubbs is a contender for either job; although I doubt he’ll want to have another go at the Championship play-offs, which he was so unfortunate in two-years running.
Paul Hartley – Unemployed
Hartley’s time as a player with Celtic and Hearts needs no introduction; yet his time as a manager highlights the managerial prowess of someone more experienced than Hartley, who’s only managed two teams. With Alloa, he led them to back-to-back promotions and managed to navigate the financial turmoil surrounding the club at the time to deliver the objectives given to him. Furthermore, promotion from the Championship with Dundee and then a top six finish show his pedigree and ability to navigate through the leagues as well as ability to strengthen. He would be an ideal candidate for either side.
Ian McCall – Ayr United
McCall’s arrival at Somerset Park raised a few eyebrows within the Scottish game as a manager with the experience and record of McCall taking up the reins of the part-time League One side seemed bizarre. yet, McCall guided Ayr to the Championship on a shoe-string budget and they had almost maintained their place before St Mirren went on a bewildering run and relegated them. McCall could be the ideal candidate to return to Falkirk, where he managed and played, as a manager with a proven track-record could be needed to steady the ship.