Derek Adams believes he still has unfinished business in Scotland but is relishing the challenge of moving Morecambe away from English football’s trapdoor.
The former Ross County boss took charge of the Shrimps in November and guided them off the foot of English League Two and 10 points clear of safety before football went into an indefinite shutdown due to the coronavirus crisis.
Had things worked out slightly differently, Adams could have been tasked with preserving Hearts’ position in the Scottish Premiership rather than attempting to keep Morecambe away from a return to non-league football.
The 44-year-old was lined up as a possible successor to Craig Levein at Tynecastle, but had already agreed to replace Jim Bentley at the Globe Arena when the Jambos came calling.
Adams said: “I was actually in the boardroom at Morecambe and I had agreed to go and was just about to sign the paperwork when I got a phone call from my agent saying Hearts wanted me to go up and have an interview.
“It was a strange couple of minutes. Hearts are a great football club and you have the chance to possibly get back working in the Premiership.
“But Morecambe had given me the opportunity to work back in England and I had given them my word.
“The co-chairmen (Graham Howse and Rod Taylor) and the secretary (Mick Horton) had been very good with me and I only felt it was right that I stuck to my word and signed the contract.”
Morecambe have the lowest budget in the English Football League and were facing the prospect of dropping down to the National League when former Plymouth boss Adams accepted the position.
The Shrimps were bottom of League Two and level on points with Stevenage with only one team facing relegation from the EFL this season, after Bury were expelled in August last year due to financial issues.
Adams enjoyed an immediate boost in form at Morecambe with the club now 10 points clear of Stevenage with nine games to go.
The former Aberdeen and Motherwell player has enjoyed his time at the club so far.
He said: “It is a small seaside club.
“Over the years they have gone from non-league football into the English Football League and they have now been in the league for many years.
“When the team is doing well, you get a good following home and away and a very good atmosphere.
“When I started in November we were bottom of the table and now we have been able open up a 10-point gap over Stevenage.
“It has been really positive. We picked up some really good wins and draws to put ourselves in a much better position.”
Morecambe entered the English Football League in 2007 and have remained in League Two ever since but Adams sees no reason why he can’t emulate the success he enjoyed at Plymouth and win promotion with the Shrimps.
It is a lofty ambition but Adams, who took First Division Ross County to a Scottish Cup final a decade ago, likes to set his sights high.
He said: “Morecambe has the lowest budget in the league so we have to overachieve.
“I have had to do that before at Ross County and Plymouth. It is something that doesn’t faze me.
“Initially, you have to look to try to get to mid-table and then aim for the play-offs and then try to get out of the play-offs and into League 1.
“Eventually that has got to be the aim of the football club.”
It is clear Adams’ hunger and ambition remains undiminished and he hopes further down the line he gets the opportunity to showcase his managerial talents north of the border.
He added: “Yes, I definitely see myself working back in Scotland someday.
“That is where I was given the opportunity at Ross County and one day I will be back in Scotland.”