Crawford knows what young Bairns are going through

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NEW Falkirk assistant boss Stevie Crawford can empathise with the current squad of players.

The former East Fife boss helped Neil McFarlane and Steven Pressley with training on Monday in the start of his new role.

And he sees striking similarities with the set-up of the squad, and the one he broke into at Raith Rovers in the early 1990s.

“I was a 17-year-old striker when I got into the first-team at Raith Rovers,” Crawford told Heraldsport.

“At that time I was one of a crop of players coming through and there were slightly older guys who were seen as older like Shaun Dennis at 23 and 24.

“There were a few old pros - the experienced heads like Peter Hetherston in the squad too - and that’s a lot like Falkirk with Darren Dods and then the next experienced guys like Mark Millar and Kallum Higginbotham.

“I see similarities and know what the young guys are going through - there’s no doubt though, that they’re a talented group and their hard work has put them in a great position in the league table.”

Crawford went on to bigger and better things after Raith, tasting life in the SPL and adding 25 Scotland caps to his name in a playing career that only ended five days ago.

He led the line for Forfar one last time as the Loons went down to Albion Rovers, and he couldn’t add to his 181 career goals.

But the former striker believes he has knowledge to pass on to the players - as well as pick up from Neil McFarlane and Steven Pressley.

The Bairns backroom team now has a compelete set - a defender in charge assisted by a midfielder and a striker.

“I can pass ideas on from my playing experience to the strikers,” Crawford added. “But Steven can pass on his defensive knowledge and Neil was a midfielder too.

“I have been in a few times to visit and watch training which was a great help from the manager here while I was doing my coaching badges - we have similar ideas on how the game should be played and I have known him a long time - I hope things will go well.”

Crawford admits he has big boots to fill.

While Crawford took his second day on the training field at Stirling, Lee Bullen pulled up behind an estate agent’s desk in Sheffield.

“Lee was a terrific coach here,” said Crawford.

“My aim is to continue his excellent work - I knew him from my time at Dunfermline.”

“He has left a lasting impression on the club and is a miss, but I hope to carry on his hard work - the main thing is the team and it’s continued positive performances.”

Crawford wasn’t in the dugout on Tuesday night for the Stirlingshire Cup win with Dumbarton, but he’ll also work with the club’s under-19s alongside McFarlane - an ex-team-mate at Aberdeen.

Steven Pressley is delighted to add Crawford to the backroom staff.

“He’s a winner and I trust him,” the boss added. “Lee is a big loss to the football club, one that will be very hard to replace.

“But Neil and Stevie will work together and both will be involved in the under-19s squad - a lot of those players are already involved in the first-team so we train together for a lot of the week, meaning they will oversee work with both squads.”

One of Crawford’s important dugout duties inherited from Lee Bullen could be, of course, holding on to Farid El Alagui’s lucky pound coin for after each of the Moroccan’s goals.