New Edinburgh City manager Gary Naysmith has revealed how he took on a delivery job for a plumbing company to ensure his mental health did not suffer.
The former Scotland, Hearts and Everton left-back returned to football management at the ambitious League 2 outfit on Tuesday following a 21-month absence from the dugout.
Naysmith’s most recent post was as a Loans Manager at Tynecastle, but that came to an end last June.
And amidst applying for roles in football during the pandemic, former Queen of the South and East Fife boss Naysmith admits he helped distribute toilet parts to make sure he had something to occupy the void during lockdown.
Naysmith said: “As a football player you are used to a routine, in the morning you know what you are going to do.
“During this time, I was just getting up in the morning, I was not even taking my boy to school because he wasn’t going to school.
“You would go for a run, maybe do the odds and ends like everybody, go to Tesco.
“It’s like deja vu. I am not saying I was struggling with my mental health, but I was thinking, ‘it’s the same again, same again, same again’.
“During that time I got a wee driving job doing some deliveries, that was great, getting yourself out of the house.
“It was to keep myself busy but more so for the mental side of it.
“When this wee job came up, just delivering stuff for City Plumbing, you were classed a key worker, because maybe people had toilets that were broken.
“That job allowed me to go out and help people, but really I was helping myself because it was giving me that routine that was familiar to me my whole life.
“I was not doing it for the money, I was doing it to help me really, help me be as familiar as I could in terms of a routine and it worked out well for me.”
Naysmith, who earned 46 Scotland caps, admits he must have left some of his fellow road users confused when they saw him in the van.
He added: “I didn’t drive everyday, if they needed me they needed me but I probably did it over a period of about four months.
“It was quite funny, people see you in the van and sometimes they would do that double take, ‘is that Gary Naysmith driving that van?’
“Some people might have said, ‘you’re silly, you could have sat in the house’.
“It’s not for me that really.
“I also was applying for other jobs in football, down in England, abroad, video scouts roles, stuff like that.
“I was actively trying to get back involved although I knew I wanted another crack at the management.”
Naysmith, who also played for Sheffield United, Huddersfield Town and Aberdeen, joined City on a deal until 2024 on Tuesday after former manager James McDonaugh became the club’s new sporting director.
And the 42-year-old insists his absence from frontline management has made him even more determined to bring success to the club.
He said: “If someone had said to me that when I lost my job at Queen of the South I would be waiting 21 months to get back in I would have found that hard to believe.
“Because of Covid and stuff it felt like a really long time but what it has done is increased my hunger to get back and succeed in the job I went back in to, and hopefully Edinburgh will 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.”