Boss Stephen Glass has installed a modern coaching set-up at Aberdeen and is confident it will pay off.
Rather than go down the traditional route of solely a manager and an assistant, Glass has bolstered his back-room staff.
Glass is confident it is a team which will get the best out of the Aberdeen squad by putting “ideas in players’ heads” to deliver a successful team.
Allan Russell arrived with Glass at the end of March when the former Atlanta United 2 manager was announced as new Pittodrie boss.
Since then, Glass has appointed Henry Apaloo from Atlanta United as assistant coach and Gothenburg Great Neil Simpson has taken on the role of pathways coach.
Pittodrie legend Simpson will work with Glass to support the transition of young players emerging from the Under-18s into first-team football.
Former Celtic skipper Scott Brown, 36, has also been added to the back-room team, having signed a two-year deal in a player-coach role.
Glass wants to be an innovator, not a follower, and that relates to every aspect of his future plan for Aberdeen – including his coaching staff.
He is confident he has built a team which can provide insight, opinions and specialised skill-sets to maximise the squad’s potential.
Glass explained: “The traditional way is there is a manager, there is an assistant and that’s it.
“However, it’s important for me as a manager to think in a modern way and to utilise the staff as best I can.
“We have a very well-rounded coaching staff all with special skills.
“We have the right people in place and it is up to us to put ideas in players’ heads, put a structure in place that works and put a successful team on the pitch.”
A democracy but Glass has the final say
Although as manager Glass has the final decision on any footballing matters, the coaching set-up works as a democracy where all voices and opinions heard.
He said: “There is a non-ego group of staff that wants the best for the club.
“That is how I like to work and it is important people have the platform to say what they think – whether they are going against what I am thinking or not.
“I have to make the final decision, but it is informed through talking to the whole staff, who are very opinionated, knowledgeable and experienced.
“We are all doing our best for the club.”
Henry Apaloo will be invaluable for Glass
We can this morning confirm that Henry Apaloo has joined the club.
A highly experienced coach, Henry was formerly assistant coach @atlutd2, alongside manager Stephen Glass.
Welcome to Aberdeen Henry!
— Aberdeen FC (@AberdeenFC) June 18, 2021
During the pre-season, Glass reunited with coach Apaloo, who he previously worked alongside at Atlanta United 2.
Apaloo was promoted up to the Atlanta United first team last year as an assistant coach.
Glass believes Apaloo’s coaching and analysis skills will be invaluable, particularly for younger players at the club.
Glass said: “We have been fortunate enough to add Henry from Atlanta, who I worked closely with for two years.
“His coaching and analysis style is brilliant and I think that will be invaluable to the younger players.
“For example, when we are watching videos Henry will see things others don’t.
“He will point something out and say ‘we have to get him in to show him that’.
“That’s going to be really important, especially with the young players.”
Scott Brown hungry to learn coaching
Assistant coach Russell was alongside Glass in the final five weeks of last season as they pushed for European qualification and a Scottish Cup bid.
Their first game in the dugout together was the Scottish Cup penalty shoot-out defeat of Livingston at Pittodrie on April 14.
During that five-week period before the end of the 2020-21, the duo also assessed the squad ahead of the summer rebuild.
Before the end of last season, Glass moved to secure then-Celtic captain Brown on a pre-contract.
Brown was recently confirmed as team captain and will lead the Dons out in Thursday’s Uefa Europa Conference League second qualifying round clash with BK Hacken.
Reward for Aberdeen, should they see off the Swedish top-flight outfit, is a tie against either Austria Wien or Iceland’s Breidablik in the next round.
Glass said: “Allan is everything you would expect from an assistant manager.
“His coaching and organisation are very good and he probes me with questions and challenges me, as does Henry.
“We have Scott leading on the pitch and learning how to be a coach and manager.
“Scott is really keen and hungry to learn every aspect of management and coaching.”
Gothenburg Great Simpson a key figure
One of the club’s greatest-ever servants Simpson, who lifted every domestic honour with the Dons as well as two European trophies, will help young players transition into the first team.
Already under Glass, full-backs Jack MacKenzie, 21, and Calvin Ramsay, 17, have received starts.
As well as assisting Glass at Cormack Park, Simpson, who successfully completed his UEFA Pro Licence in 2019, will also help young Dons players during loan spells at other clubs.
Barry Robson had been in interim joint charge of the Dons along with Simpson and Paul Sheerin, now Falkirk manager, until Glass and Russell were appointed on March 23.
UEFA Pro Licence holder Robson has taken up the role of development phase manager with overall responsibility for the Under-17s and Under-18s groups.
Robson has also assumed the lead coach role for the U18s.
Glass said: “In the previous staff, Barry was working pretty closely with the first team, but he was keen to go back and work with the academy.
“He wanted to get his hands on a team and that is a positive.