Falkirk boss has Team Hartley in place

Falkirk's management team of Alex Smith, Paul Hartley, Jimmy Nicholl and fitness coach Tam Ritchie. (pic by Michael Gillen)
Falkirk's management team of Alex Smith, Paul Hartley, Jimmy Nicholl and fitness coach Tam Ritchie. (pic by Michael Gillen)

Falkirk boss Paul Hartley has completed his backroom team with the addition of assistant Jimmy Nicholl and fitness coach Tam Ritchie.

And he believes that Nicholl in particular can bring a combination of experience and enthusiasm to push Bairns up the Championship table.

Nicholl will remain in place as Northern Ireland assistant boss for next month’s World Cup play-off with Switzerland and Hartley feels his achievements at international level with Michael O’Neill show what he can bring to Falkirk.

He said: “They have got the maximum out of their players. What they’ve done has been absolutely outstanding.”

“He [Nicholl] took me to Millwall as a kid and then took me back to Raith Rovers, so he’s somebody that I know pretty well, somebody that I really respect, that I enjoy working with.

“He’s somebody that will bring a personality to the group. That enthusiasm on the training pitch and the hunger and desire he’s never lost. He loves football and I can lean on Jimmy and on Alex [Smith] because I’m still learning.”

Nicholl, whose first task is to help Hartley prepare for Saturday’s visit of league leaders St Mirren, admitted that - despite having more family time - he had missed the day-to-day involvement with the game since leaving his last job at Cowdenbeath.

He said: “Every time I went away with Northern Ireland I kept thinking about the clubs the lads were going back to.

“You just don’t know in football. One minute you’re putting on a washing at Cowdenbeath and the next minute you’re going to the Euros.”

Nicholl believes that in Hartley and his players Falkirk have the right tools to get Bairns back up the Championship table.

He said: “He [Hartley] has a determination to do well for the club and he knows this is a play-off club.

“The players’ application is good, their ability is good, they’ve just got to put it all together out on the pitch on a Saturday and hopefully they do.

“You need determination to be a successful manager, to go as high as you can go and he’s still got that in him.

“Sometimes you get a wee kick in the teeth but you’ve just got to bounce back and he does it with the demands he puts on the players.

“He’s not going to be sitting about waiting for any of us to make decisions.”