Ex-Hearts winger Kevin Twaddle says Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale are the only club that could have tempted him into management after he this week became successor to Grant Carnie at the East of Scotland club.
Twaddle, a former coach at Lothian, will take charge of tomorrow’s Premier Division clash with Civil Service Strollers at Saughton Enclosure. The match represents the first challenge in his new mission – to win the Central Taxis Premier Division title.
Twaddle, who ended a five-month stint as coach at the club in March this year due to the demands of running his own painting and decorating business, said the lure of a return to Saughton was too strong to resist. “They are the only team I would have gone to,” said Twaddle. “I’ve missed the boys and I know [club officials] Tam Smith and Raymond Carr really well. If I don’t win the league, I’ll be disappointed.
“Grant left a really good squad and there’s not much I would want to change. It’s a matter of progressing with what I’ve got. I know a lot of the boys already and will give everyone a fair crack of the whip.”
His new position represents a second managerial role for Twaddle, who also leads Scotland’s pool team and will next Tuesday fly out to Malta to compete in a tournament.
While his other commitments will rarely get in the way of leading his new club, he is comforted by back-up from a wealth of assistants. Ex-Selkirk manager Mikey McKinnon will act as Twaddle’s No. 2, while fitness coach Mike McGuire and long-time club servant Raymond Carr remain in place.
Lothian chairman Tom Allison said: “Kevin and his team have time to settle in and get used to the players. We have a young squad, but I’m sure Kevin will bring freshness and win the league.”
Meanwhile, outgoing manager Carnie blamed a lack of effort from his players as part of the reason he resigned his position following last weekend’s Alex Jack Cup final defeat to Leith Athletic, where he was banished from the dugout following comments towards a match official.
“I put 100 per cent in, and I want the same back,” said Carnie. “I was disappointed with how I reacted at the cup final, but I felt my views were valid. I enjoyed my time at the club and I feel I brought the team on leaps and bounds. There are boys there who can win the league if they give enough effort, but I didn’t feel I got that and that was one of the reasons for leaving.”
Strollers have also appointed a new manager, with former Craigroyston boss Ross McNeil taking over from Andy Raeburn after both men resigned their former positions last weekend. McNeil will miss tomorrow’s match, however, due to work commitments.