Stevie Crawford vows to help Steven Whittaker kick-start coaching career after freed Hibs stalwart joins Dunfermline on one-year deal

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STEVIE CRAWFORD is determined to help Steven Whittaker kick-start his coaching career at Dunfermline after signing the former Hibs star on a 12-month deal.

Whittaker, released by the Easter Road side last month, will be joined at East End Park next season by freed Dundee United defender Paul Watson, who has penned a two-year contract with the Pars.

With 889 senior appearances between then, the duo will add experience and Championship knowhow to a Fifers squad shorn of some seasoned professionals when the club released 17 players last month.

And, whilst expecting the 36-year-old former Rangers and Scotland defender to play a major role on the pitch next term – in central midfield – Crawford is thrilled to be able to play a part in helping take Whittaker’s career to the next stage as a player-coach.

He said: “Steven was one that was put to us. His agent had got in touch with us to make us aware that he was free and we have been working in the background on that one.

“It is slightly different because Steven is also looking ahead to getting involved in the coaching set-up as well. He will be coming here as a player, very much so, but he will have a valued opinion in the coaches’ room as well.

“He has been doing a little bit of coaching last year at Hibs but the early parts of our conversations were about him playing.

GOOD FIT

“He spoke to several different parties on that side of it, and I’m sure that there were opportunities there for him to play in a higher league.

“But the way we spoke and hit it off, the homework that he had done on myself and Dunfermline, and likewise the homework that we had done on him, it just seemed a good fit.

“He is 10 years younger than the rest of the coaching staff – a different generation of how the modern footballer plays – so again it is an insight that we will be trying to use.

“He comes in as a player-coach. It can be a difficult step to take at times and, although we are going to have him on the pitch as often as we can, it is important for him that the players and supporters understand that he is here to develop himself as a coach as well.

“That is where he sees his longer-term future.”

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