Meet the manager: In depth with Ray McKinnon

New Falkirk manager, Ray McKinnon (All photos: Michael Gillen)
New Falkirk manager, Ray McKinnon (All photos: Michael Gillen)

New Falkirk manager Ray McKinnon is intent on coming into work every day with a smile and ensuring players and staff alike enjoy their jobs.

McKinnon takes over Falkirk with the club sitting bottom of the Scottish Championship, but insists that he wants everyone to love the job they are doing.

McKinnon with his new colours

McKinnon with his new colours

“I’m very passionate and I love my work. I like to be happy at my work and I like people around me happy. If you come to work happy, you get the best out of people,” he told the Falkirk Herald.

“We want to create an environment, first and foremost, where everyone is comfortable, happy, wants to come into work in the morning and feels valued and respected.”

McKinnon joins Falkirk having rebuilt fellow Championship side Greenock Morton in the summer, although he doesn’t have the luxury of being able to bring his own players to The Falkirk Stadium.

“I have rebuilt teams constantly, everywhere I have been and I am going to have to do it again, probably, at Falkirk.

McKinnon's first press conference was last Tuesday, as he answered plenty of questions about his Morton departure

McKinnon's first press conference was last Tuesday, as he answered plenty of questions about his Morton departure

“I rebuilt Brechin, Raith, Dundee United – twice in a year – and I then rebuilt Morton with four players.

“I have that same challenge here, albeit I don’t have any time to work and it’s the first time I have taken over a group of players that we haven’t sourced properly.”

The 48-year-old was keen to let Falkirk fans know that this won’t be an overnight job, and that it will take time and a lot of hard work before the club are once again heading down the right path.

After only two weeks in the job, and one game in the dugout, McKinnon is looking upwards towards the top flight. He realises, though, that it’s a journey that is likely to take more than one season.

The new man was very well received by Bairns supporters on his first day in the dugout

The new man was very well received by Bairns supporters on his first day in the dugout

“I think there is an opportunity here, there is a real path to the Premiership.

“We are right at the bottom, but I can see the opportunity to take this club forward.

“We are not going to do it overnight, I think that is clear and I think we need to make that clear to the fans. We are open and honest. It’s going to take time and we are going to have to work extremely hard.

“We are not going to make giant steps and go from the bottom of the league to winning the league and being in the Premiership top four in a year.”

Assistant manager Darren Taylor

Assistant manager Darren Taylor

McKinnon has been joined by Darren Taylor at every club he has been at, and explained his relationship with his assistant manager, and Taylor’s role at the club .

“Me and Darren have been friends for 30 years. He has always been in football, scouting.

“We got the opportunity to work together at Brechin and Raith and I brought him in full-time at Dundee United to head up recruitment and player liason.

“Together we identify and bring in good players and the right types.

“We always watch people and make our own judgement because ultimately we have to trust that they will come and do a job for us.”

McKinnon added that this was ‘partly’ the reason that the club separated from head of recruitment Richard Mitchell upon the pair’s arrival at The Falkirk Stadium.

Another thing going in McKinnon’s favour is his Championship experience, gained with Raith Rovers, Dundee United and Morton.

“Experience is important, to know the league and know what it takes to get to the top of the league,” he added.

“I got to the play-offs with Raith and made the final with United.”

Dundee United, despite the disappointment of losing a play-off final to Hamilton, was a positive spell for McKinnon – who believes he was harshly fired.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it. I took over a very difficult job at a club that had just been relegated and were without a budget.

“I put together a very decent squad and was extremely disappointed when I was sacked after losing my second game at home in 18 months.”

McKinnon, though, believes it’s important to look forward as he prepares to start a new chapter with a trip to Ayr United.