Hegarty Is Just Happy to Do It the Hard Way

Daily Mail (London), December 31, 1998 | Go to article overview

Hegarty Is Just Happy to Do It the Hard Way


Byline: ROGER HANNAH

IF Paul Hegarty is overlooked when Stewart Milne and his cohorts in the Pittodrie boardroom finally make a decision on Alex Miller's successor, there will always be a job for him in the diplomatic corps.

Momentum is fast building behind this charming man's campaign for a lengthier tenure in the dugout.

He has won back a dressing room which was lost to such an extent by Miller that a player revolt threatened before his eventual departure.

Aberdeen's fans, never slow to show their displeasure when things on the park are going awry, also appear ready to accept Hegarty as their chosen one.

Ten points from four games, Aberdeen's best run for six years and four managers, hasn't exactly hindered his chances of persuading Milne and co that they need look no further than the bowels of Pittodrie for a new leader.

But still Hegarty refuses to go banging on the chairman's door demanding a lengthy contract and unlimited rights to the millionaire housing developer's chequebook.

Instead, he prefers to do his talking on the training ground and, as long as his players do their talking on the pitch, he remains content in the knowledge that his stock is rising.

Yesterday, as he reflected on the previous evening's 1-1 draw with Motherwell and the first dropped points of his brief spell in the hot seat, Hegarty told Sportsmail: 'I still don't feel under any pressure whatsoever.

'It is probably quite a unique feeling and some people may find it strange because I'm still in limbo, but I feel truly content.

'Stewart and the directors have been smashing, very supportive, and have let me get on with the job.

It is up to them and they will decide for the good of Aberdeen Football Club.

'It is in other people's hands but it is vital to get it right because Aberdeen is such a big club and it is very wise to do what Stewart is doing.'

Hegarty's diplomacy is, indeed, an endearing trait, but no-one should be under the misapprehension that the man who made his name with the other north-east New Firm giant is anything but bursting for a real crack in the hot seat.

For the man who won eight Scotland caps and lifted a championship trophy during an illustrious playing career with Dundee United has earned his coaching spurs the hard way.

Twenty months working at the coal-face with Forfar opened his eyes to the harsh realities of life outside the top flight but, despite an untimely departure, Hegarty believes his time at Station Park and spells in the boot rooms of Tannadice, Tynecastle and Pittodrie have left him perfectly prepared to take the reins himself.

He said: 'Forfar was a great grounding for me. It was an excellent small club with lovely people.

'After being cocooned in the Premier League all my days it was good to learn about a small club with limited resources, see the other side of the coin.

'I had 20 months there before Ivan Golac took me back to United to work with the kids and the reserves.

Jim Jefferies took me to Hearts to work with the kids in the reserves and then I came here with Alex a year ago. …

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