Two-time Highland League winning manager closes door management return

Davie Kirkwood won Highland League manager of the year in 2015.

Two-time Highland League winning manager Davie Kirkwood has closed the door on a return to management following his return to Ross County’s youth setup.

Kirkwood returned for a second stint at Victoria Park in September as the Staggies’ head of youth academy programme, having previously worked for six years in a similar role with the Dingwall outfit.

The 50-year-old has since had spells in management with Highland League sides Wick Academy and Brora Rangers, who he guided to back-to-back titles before stepping down to focus on work commitments with a taxi company in 2015.

Kirkwood, who worked in youth setups at Raith Rovers, Motherwell and Rangers prior to his first spell with County, says his current role is where he feels best suited.

Kirkwood said: “Once in your career it tends to be that you want to be a manager.

“I have had my time. Would I want to be one again? My answer is no, because I think my niche is helping young kids become better than they are.

“It has been a breath of fresh air, working with Steven Ferguson, things have gone on leaps and bounds.”

Aberdeen’s Gary Mackay-Steven came through County’s youth system during Kirkwood’s first Victoria Park tenure and he feels young players will stand a better chance of progression in the revamped academy which has been set up for the Scottish FA’s Project Brave.

Kirkwood added: “It has changed because these were individual players. We are wanting to have a whole system where we don’t have one or two players coming through, we want to have four or five players at each age group.”