Steven Hislop believes the time is right for Don Cowie to make the step up as Ross County’s interim manager.
Cowie has been placed in temporary charge of the Staggies, following the resignation of Derek Adams earlier this week.
No timescale has been put on the interim appointment, with the Staggies next in action away to Rangers on Wednesday.
Cowie had been assistant to both Adams and previous manager Malky Mackay, and served in the coaching team under Stuart Kettlewell and John Hughes.
Having been a long-serving member of staff at Victoria Park, former Staggies team-mate Hislop believes the 40-year-old is deserving of the opportunity to stake his claim for the permanent job.
Hislop said: “I actually hoped he would get it before Derek Adams came in.
“Don deserves a shot at it. I don’t know how long interim is, but hopefully enough for him to get a wee opportunity at it – and almost do a job interview at the same time.
“He will have picked up plenty tips and experience from different guys he has worked under in coaching and management.
“He has probably dissected the best bits from the managers, taken out the bad bits and learned from what happened.”
Staggies players will have a point to prove
Cowie takes over at a time when the Staggies are sitting second bottom of the Premiership table, having failed to record a win in nine matches across all competitions.
Adams’ reign lasted just 12 matches within the space of 80 days, following his return for a third stint at Victoria Park in November.
Adams was highly critical of his squad at certain points during his tenure – most notably in the wake of a 1-0 defeat to Dundee in December.
Hislop believes Cowie will inherit a squad determined to prove their former manager wrong.
He added: “It’s a hostile job – it’s not easy no matter what level you are at.
“I would imagine the players will relate well to Don.
“When you are an assistant or coach you have got that bond between the players and management, but the trickiest thing now will be to take a step back from the players.
“You can’t be as close.
“But I would imagine he has built up a good relationship with the players that are there, and hopefully they will give their utmost for him.
“I think you might see a wee change in fortune, given what Derek said about the players.
“They were slaughtered to the nation and the media. That’s hard to take.”
Cowie has shown professionalism to reach the top
Cowie was a young emerging midfield talent when Hislop played as a forward for the Staggies between 2001 and 2003.
Having made the breakthrough with the Staggies, Cowie went on to enjoy success in English football with Watford, Cardiff City and Wigan, before returning to Scotland with Hearts.
Cowie, who is from Strathpeffer, was also capped 10 times for Scotland.
Hislop feels Cowie reaped the rewards of his professionalism throughout his career, which he feels will serve him well in management.
Hislop, who was most recently assistant at Lowland League side Tranent, added: “He was very young when I played with him. I could see the talent he had – and he was a great professional back then.
“Even at a young age, the young ones can get led astray, but Don was always head down – first into training and last out.
“He has obviously taken that throughout his career, with the moves he has had.
“It has been great to watch him – I saw him a lot when he was at Hearts.
“I could never say back then that I thought he would be a manager.
“But the professionalism he had at that age has obviously taken him through, and I would imagine he has now taken that into management.”