BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
EAST FIFE skipper Kevin Smith insists “family club” Queen of the South is the perfect next step in Gary Naysmith’s managerial journey – and reckons he has left a superb legacy for his successor as Bayview boss.
Smith, 29, played for the Dumfries outfit between for two seasons and helped Queens lift the League 1 title and Challenge Cup during a hugely successful 2012/13 campaign.
While the Methil stalwart was gutted to see Naysmith formally depart at the start of this week, he has no doubt that it will prove an ideal fit for the former Scotland international.
He said: “Gary has done a magnificent job. He has brought the professional standards that he had throughout his career to part-time football, sending us clips of opponents and our own performances and always striving to make us better.
“If he takes that to Queens then he will be a big success.
“I’ve been at Queens and there are similarities with East Fife – a family club with areal unity there – so that will suit Gary, who likes to be hands-on with his players.
“I believe he is destined to be a top manager and, although we’re gutted to see him go, no-one here, from the chairman through to the players, will say a bad word about him.”
Dunfermline coach John Potter, former Livingston boss Mark Burchill, Tam Courts of Kelty Hearts and ex-Stirling Albion manager Greig McDonald are among those linked with the vacancy ahead of today’s trip to Brechin.
“It has been a tough couple of weeks,” acknowledged Smith. “We’ve had the manager going and his number two, Dougie Anderson, who took the 1-0 win against Edinburgh City in midweek, is leaving to join him.
“But we have stuck together and stayed professional. Whoever does come in is inheriting a good group and he will realise that the moment he walks through the door.
“It is a really honest squad, we all work for each other and firmly believe we can get away from the bottom end of the table.
“It is a really good job for someone and there seems to have been plenty of interest in it.
“Gary deserves some credit for that. People will say ‘if someone of Gary’s stature goes in there and enjoys it and kicks on, then why can’t I?’ There are not many jobs in Scotland and East Fife is a very, very good one.”