Client news: Gary Naysmith savouring return to the dugout at Edinburgh City FC
FEW managers will relish the return of football to Scotland's lower leagues this weekend more than Edinburgh City's Gary Naysmith.
The 42-year-old former Hearts, Everton and Scotland left-back will take charge of his first game at his new club away to Elgin City.
As League Two emerges from cold storage, following a lengthy absence because of COVID-19, Sport Careers Agency client Gary can't wait to get started.
The experienced Naysmith has landed a contract until 2024 as top team boss at ambitious City with former manager James McDonaugh stepping upstairs to a role as Sporting Director.
When Gary left his last role as Queen of the South boss he could not have envisaged a global pandemic that has contributed significantly to his 21-month absence from the game.
The new City manager reflected: "With COVID-19 and stuff it felt like a really long time but what it has done is that it has increased my hunger to get back and succeed in the job I went back in to.
"I hope that Edinburgh City will now see the benefits of that.
"There is a three-and-a-half year contract, which is unbelievable for a manager to get that length of time in this day and age.
"Within that they know I'm not going to jump ship when the next full-time job comes along.
"If someone had said when I left Queen of the South I would have to wait 21 months to get the Edinburgh job I would have waited because I firmly believe it's one of the clubs where there is a real chance to build and grow."
Edinburgh City are one of Scottish football's great success stories in the last decade having battled their way out of the Lowland League to become firmly entrenched in the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL).
They currently sit fifth in League Two and Saturday's trip to second-placed Elgin is a testing baptism for UEFA Pro Licence coach Naysmith.
It's one he will savour, though, and he stressed: "I can honestly say that this is a role that I have been thinking about for a while if it became available.
"I am unbelievably excited to be getting the opportunity to front up a club that I believe can become a significant force in the coming years.
"The length of the contract is of personal importance to me as it allows an opportunity to build something from within over a period of time.
"That is something that holds a particular attraction for myself as I would like to make a significant contribution to the club.
"I am also looking forward to working closely with James in his new role as sporting director. I've known James for many years now and we have always enjoyed a good relationship.
"He did a great job during his spell as manager and I think it is fantastic that he will hold such an important role at the club as we continue to build and move the club forward."
By Iain King