Published: 28/09/2017 08:04 - Updated: 28/09/2017 11:25

Official - Ross County secure Owen Coyle as new manager

Written byPaul Chalk and Jamie Durent


Owen Coyle, playing for Ross County against Raith Rovers as a loan player in in 2000-01.
Owen Coyle, playing for Ross County against Raith Rovers as a loan player in in 2000-01.
OWEN Coyle has this morning been confirmed as the new Ross County manager.

The Ladbrokes Premiership strugglers axed League Cup-winning duo Jim McIntyre and Billy Dodds on Monday and chairman Roy MacGregor moved swiftly to secure the man who guided unfancied Burnley into the English Premier League via the play-offs in 2009.

The 51-year-old former Airdrie goal-grabber been out of Scottish football for a decade since leaving St Johnstone for Burnley, but he has been meeting the press this morning as the new boss at the Global Energy Stadium.

After signing a two-year-deal, he confirmed that he will take the team against Kilmarnock on Saturday.

Coyle, from Paisley, saw off rivals Paul Hartley and Alan Stubbs to become the boss in Dingwall, having played for the club on loan from Dunfermline Athletic briefly in 2000-01.

The toiling Staggies players will need to up their game as no wins from their last seven fixtures has left them 10th and in danger of dropping to the bottom on Saturday if Killie beat them.

Coyle began to turn heads at then Division One club St Johnstone when he led the Perth Saints the semi-finals of the League Cup and Scottish Cup and into the Challenge Cup final.

He was lured to Burnley just before this final and his long-time assistant Sandy Stewart, who is the new County number two, was in charge as St Johnstone beat Dunfermline Athletic 3-2 at Dens Park.

The season before this, Coyle had taken St Johnstone to the brink of promotion into the Premier League, but last-day drama saw Gretna clinch the title in Dingwall, sending County down to Division Two.

The former Republic of Ireland international bossed Burnley into the top-flight thanks to a play-off final win at Wembley against Sheffield United eight years ago.

That same year, he had the chance to replace Gordon Strachan as Celtic manager, but signed a new contract at Turf Moor and life in the Premier League down south got off to a flying start as his players beat Manchester United in their first home game at that level for more than three decades.

Some of Coyle's best times as a forward came in the colours of Bolton Wanderers and he could not resist their advances in 2010 when they moved for him to become their next manager.

He achieved his first target of keeping Bolton at England's top table, while Burnley took the drop.

However, two years later, Bolton were unable to stay up, going down on the last day of the season.

Poor results at the start of the new term in the Championship saw him sacked in October 2012.

The following summer he was the man to become Roberto Martinez's replacement at Wigan Athletic, but inconsistent results led to his departure before Christmas.

He didn't hang about for his next job and raised eyebrows by moving to America to manage Houston Dynamos, where he penned a three-year contract.

In May 2016, he clinched a move back to England, saying he wanted to be closer to his family and he was handed the Blackburn Rovers job just weeks after his switch from Stateside.

However, with a win rate of just below 30 per cent over 37 games, he was shown the door at Ewood Park earlier this year.

It's understood he applied for the Hearts job before Craig Levein returned to the Tynecastle hot-seat in August and Coyle was this week linked to Championship toilers Falkirk after their decision to sack Peter Houston on Saturday.

However, his desire to return to the Scottish game was noticed by MacGregor and he made his move.

McIntyre and Dodds, meanwhile, feel sore this week after being shown the door at Dingwall, with the former manager feeling MacGregor should have at the very least afforded them a few more matches, taking them to the end of the first round of fixtures, to turn the side's form around.

The management pair replaced Derek Adams in 2004 and, against all the odds, kept the club up.

In the 2015-16 season, when they sensationally guided County to its first major national trophy by beating Celtic in the League Cup semis and Hibs in the final, they also finished sixth in the table.

Last term, inconsistency cost them and they missed their target of reaching the top half of the table again, however they did complete the campaign on an eight-game unbeaten run.

A Betfred Cup exit at the hands of Motherwell this season, combined with just an opening day 2-1 league win at Dundee, led to MacGregor, who listened to his "concerned" board, making the surprise changes earlier this week.

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