BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
‘I’ve had 20 months to reflect on things,’ says Alan Stubbs contemplatively. His conclusions are typically unflinching.
Never one to pull his punches, Stubbs admits leaving Hibernian in 2016, mere 10 days after winning the Scottish Cup, was a catastrophic error. Rotherham was the wrong destination; the wrong people. He was too hasty.
His assumption that life in the dugout was destined to be an upward trajectory was punctured within four months. Sacked by the Millers after 14 games and one win.
The former Celtic and Everton defender has analysed his failures and, as he embarks on life as Buddies boss, he is adamant there will be no repeat of past errors.
“I remember one quote from Brendan [Rodgers] who was asked what advice he would give to young managers and it was: ‘don’t be in a rush’,” said Stubbs. “When I look back that was me. I was in a rush.
“When you have a taste of success early you think it is just going to be an upward spiral and I didn’t think enough about the move. I jumped in too quickly, I didn’t do enough due diligence about it. I am surprised at myself that I didn’t but I didn’t.
“I am not saying the people at Rotherham were bad people. They were just different to what I had worked with at Hibs. Different to [chief executive] Leeann Dempster and [director of football] George Craig.
“When you don’t have that it makes you appreciate what you had.
“Sometimes adversity can make you a better and stronger person and I certainly think that this time around I won’t make the same mistakes. I can’t make the same mistakes again.”
He added: “I have had four offers and two interviews so it is not as if I have been twiddling my thumbs. I have been wanting to get back in but, as a result of my last experience, I have said no. Speaking to the people at St Mirren they seem good people who are going to be very supportive.”
Despite his decision to depart Leith in the afterglow of their Scottish Cup triumph, guiding the club to the trophy for the first time since 1902, he is assured a heroes welcome when he returns to Easter Road as an opposition manager for the first time.
The term ‘legend’ does not sit comfortably, however.
“I’m a Scottish Cup winner, I am not a legend,” he continued. “I felt uncomfortable being called that as a player and I still do. I was lucky, I had a bit of ability, I made the most of it but I am not the type to look on myself as a legend.
“My biggest satisfaction was for the people around me. It goes on my CV and no one can take it away, which is great, but it’s the satisfaction and the pride you see on the faces that is priceless.
“The fact they will always talk about it gives you a sense of the achievement, from that point of view it was amazing – but I have to try and write another chapter now.”
*Alan Stubbs was speaking at the McDonald’s & Scottish FA Community Football Day in Dalgety Bay. These football days are taking place across the UK this summer, giving thousands of children the chance to enjoy the beautiful game.