GAME ON: Learning curve for new boss Darren Dods but experience will ring true

Derek Watt Photography
Derek Watt Photography

The 40-year-old has navigated several obstacles already in his first few weeks in the Glebe Park hotseat, walking into a friendly against Aberdeen with just four of eight signed players available before seeing a key target in Callum Tapping head to Queen of the South.

City then crashed out of the Petrofac Training Cup and Scottish League Cup following 3-0 and 2-0 losses to League One rivals Peterhead and Ayr United respectively.

But anybody who has seen the experienced centre back play can attest to Dods’s refusal to back down from a challenge.

At the moment, all the Brechin gaffer is focusing on is gelling a squad together for the forthcoming League One campaign.

“I’m learning every day,” says Darren. “It was hard at the start having the Aberdeen game so early. Ideally we’d have gone in and had five or six training sessions and then played a Highland League team or something like that. I think we had about three or four signed players available, and the rest were trialists.

“There are teams that have only lost one or two over the summer and have boys that have been with the club for years. We need to get ours to gel.

“We’re working on getting everyone settled in and playing the way we want to play.”

Hearing Dods reel off the bosses he’s worked under is like listening to a who’s who of Scottish managers.

And from Alex Miller to Dick Campbell via Craig Brewster and Craig Levein, you have to respect the experience Darren has to call upon in his new role.

“I started off under Alex Miller at Hibs, he was thorough and organised,” Dods said. “He was good with how he set up with tactics. I worked under him for five or six years. I learned a lot from him but I’ve learned bits from each manager I’ve played for.

“Paul Sturrock was organised, up at Inverness it was John Robertson who was the more motivating type. Craig Brewster came in and he gave a good example of playing and managing at the same time and he coped well. I took a lot from that.

“I really enjoyed my time under Craig Levein at Dundee United, he was great on tactics and working with the defenders. Then I’ve been with Dick Campbell at Forfar.”

For Dods, the target this season is clear - continuity.

He added: “We’re going in to a team who were obviously in the play-offs last year and we’re going to try and get there again.

“I think we can be competitive this year. Dunfermline have gotten stronger, they’ll be favourites.

“Forfar will be there and Ayr United have strengthened. It will be a competitive league again.”

One of the many new faces at Glebe Park is midfielder James Dale, who followed Dods on his way up the A90 from Forfar Athletic’s Station Park to Brechin.

Dale believes his old teammate - and new boss - has everything it takes to succeed.

James said: “Darren was brilliant to have around the dressing room. He’s played at the highest level for so long.

“Off the field he’s one of the nicest people I’ve met. On the field he’s got that aggressive side and he’s just a natural leader. For someone like myself being a youngster growing into the game, it’s someone I respect and look up to and learn from.

“That’s the winning mentality I want to instil in myself. He’s someone I learn from every day.

“He’s played under some great managers so he’s learned from them through his career. He’s got all the right assets to be a successful manager. Even last season under Dick Campbell, that’s a unique boss.”

Dods already has the respect and belief of his players, the faithful support of a patient board, a squad of established Brechin stars and exciting new faces, and the skills and experiences to make it as a boss.

The results will follow.