Peterhead assistant boss Davie Nicholls hopes Jim McInally will be remembered for his “unreal” achievements at the club.
Nicholls, in interim charge of the team following McInally’s resignation, paid tribute to the man who brought him into coaching and who has stood alongside him for the last 14 years.
The pair took over the club in 2011 when it was bottom of the old Third Division. They led Peterhead to two league titles, the Challenge Cup final against Rangers in 2015 and delivered a memorable win at Ibrox.
Of late the task has been more challenging, considering the club’s issues with recruitment, but the Blue Toon are now in their fourth season in League One.
Nicholls spoke to McInally after his decision was made public on Monday and hopes Peterhead’s progress during his time in charge will be recognised.
“It’s really sad and I feel rotten for Jim,” said Nicholls. “He’s dedicated a huge part of his life to Peterhead and I’ve been there with him.
“Jim has his reasons and they will remain private but logistically, the job has become quite difficult. It became almost a full-time job – he was going up for board meetings, taking training on Tuesdays and Thursdays and then games on a Saturday.
“He gives more than 100 per cent and that’s just him as a man. He goes out of his way for everyone and he’s been there for me. When I was retiring from football he gave me the opportunity to go into coaching and I’ve been there ever since.
“He’s done more for players than any manager I have ever seen. He’s a fantastic guy and will hopefully get the recognition he deserves. The history he has brought to Peterhead is unreal.”
Nicholls will be in charge until a new manager has been appointed. It had been a decision McInally had mulled over for some time and made his final choice after the 3-0 defeat to Montrose.
Peterhead find themselves bottom of League One with one win from 15 games. They are 10 points adrift of the guaranteed safety of eighth spot.
They are at home to Dunfermline on Saturday and Nicholls sees it as a fresh opportunity for the players to prove their worth to the club.
“It’s up to them to show the new manager, who may be in the stand watching, what they’re about,” he added. “It’s a clean slate for them.
“They need to show they want to be at the club and they want to play. I would surmise they want to do well for the club and do well individually.
“Some might see it as an opportunity to get into the team, consolidate and stay here for a few years.”
The assistant boss is not looking beyond this week’s game, with the squad training as normal.
“The club asked me to help out,” said Nicholls. “I spoke to Jim and said I would do it this week. It’s been a terrific experience for me at the club, with a few lows but mainly highs.
“We spoke to most of the players on Monday. It was a good performance on Saturday and Jim is just looking for the team to kick on.”