Friday 27th January 2017

HE’S grown used to life at the sharp end of Scottish football.

Enough winner’s medals to keep most players happy. Twenty caps for his country. Many years coaching at the team he most famously played for.

So some might say that it’s a contrast for him to join a part-time side who train twice a week and play against full-time opponents most weeks.

But Ian Durrant’s assertion?

“It’s just a game of football.”

After a single training session with Dumbarton, the bug has bitten the club’s new assistant manager.

He’s not bothered about how much glamour his post is perceived to have. He’s just happy to be involved in the game, helping Sons’ cause.

And the club is equally happy to have him on board, having announced his appointment earlier today.

He said: “I love football and I’m delighted to have the chance to be involved at Dumbarton.

“They are a great bunch of lads with great backing from the board and a manager who I am sure will go on to great things.

“Hopefully the crowds can turn out and we can help Dumbarton to be successful.

“When I left Rangers as a player I joined Kilmarnock. I wouldn’t say they were exactly the same circumstances but they proved a lot of people wrong, finishing high up the top division.

“I’ve now got another challenge with Dumbarton and I can’t wait.”

Ian, who left Rangers as a coach last year, was keen to express his gratitude to Sons boss Stevie Aitken for the chance to get back into the game.

His batteries are recharged and, having met the players last night, he already likes what he sees from the players he will oversee with Stevie every Saturday.

He continued: “First and foremost I appreciate the opportunity Stevie has given me. I’ve had a nice break from the game but after Christmas I made a conscious decision that I wanted to get back into it.

“I’ve missed being involved and when Stevie Farrell left for Stranraer, the chance came along and I was delighted when the manager asked me to be his assistant.

“My feeling at training last night was excitement at getting back in and getting the vocal chords working again. Stevie told me about the players through the week and didn’t hide anything from me, so there were no surprises.

“Hopefully there’s a bit we can add, but they are a great bunch of boys with a great work ethic. I know the likes of Darren Barr and Christian Nade as the ‘old school’ players, but I was delighted with how all of them approached training.

“They’ve done great in the Championship and of course I think they can stay up. They are usually favourites to go down at the start but everybody loves an underdog.

“We’ve made a few additions recently and all can play various positions. Together with what’s already there, hopefully they can push up the league.”

Now all roads lead to Kirkcaldy tomorrow, when Sons face Raith Rovers in Ian’s first game as assistant.

But the Championship challenge isn’t new to him, having operated at Rangers during the Ibrox club’s two years in the division.

And he hopes that Dumbarton can put up as strong a fight in what remains of the current season as they did against the Gers.

He said: “When I met Stevie earlier in the week he told me there were a lot of important games coming up. I’m absolutely champing at the bit to get started and tomorrow can’t come quickly enough.

“We know it will be a tough game at Stark’s Park, but I’m sure the players will be up for the challenge.

“Dumbarton always gave Rangers a tough game during the clubs’ two seasons in the Championship together. Stevie set his stall out to make the team harder to beat, but they created chances as well.

“When teams play against the Old Firm, sometimes they sit in and try their luck. Dumbarton always had a steely backbone about them and gave Rangers a close game.”

As well as what the move means for Dumbarton, there is also the question of what it means for Ian Durrant.

The chance to move into management in his own right? Maybe…but that’s for another day.

For now, it’s all about the next 14 matchdays with Dumbarton – and he hopes he can match the achievements of the last ex-Rangers midfielder called Ian who was on the management staff at the club.

He added: “I’ve been doing a lot of homework, putting faces to names.

“We will see what coming to Dumbarton does for me, but I’m just delighted to be involved. I’m not going to look several steps ahead of where I am – it’s one step at a time.

“I’ve learned from playing under several managers – Walter Smith, Archie Knox, Terry Butcher, Graeme Souness, and more recently Alex McLeish and Mark Warburton.

“They all have different concepts of how the game should be played, but it’s not rocket science. It’s about getting the players to perform to the best of their ability and we have a great bunch at Dumbarton.

“I’ve not spoken to Ian Murray yet but my phone has been inundated with people wishing me good luck.

“He did a great job at Dumbarton and the foundations he left made it easy for Stevie Aitken to come in and do the great job he’s done.

“It’s something I look forward to being part of.”

Andy Galloway

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