Paul Hartley took the Falkirk manager’s job last week and immediately set his sights on the top four of the Championship – and promotion to the Premiership.
He makes his first steps towards that aim this weekend against Inverness, and joined by Michael McArdle – at least in the short term.
The Forth Valley Academy chief stepped in to help Alex Smith, Lee Miller and Mark Kerr in the wake of Peter Houston’s departure and stayed on this week to help Hartley in his first few days at The Falkirk Stadium.
He’s one of the many “good people” Hartley has encountered at Falkirk.
He will bring in his own staff, but is in no rush having enjoyed liaising with Smith and McArdle this week.
“I’ve been working on a couple of things and been speaking to people but there’s nothing concrete,” said Hartley. “I am very happy with the staff who are at Falkirk just now. Michael McArdle has been a great help, as has Alex, so it is something I am looking to do but I am in no rush. I know I am already working with good people here.
“Michael and I have had some good chats about the Academy and the first team. He’s enjoyed his time working with the players and been working with me this week so we have had a real good insight into the club and how it’s been working as a whole, how things operate – I think we’re blessed here.”
Hartley was enthusiastic after the formalities of his appointment were completed. One of the attractions to the Bairns job, he told The Falkirk Herald, was the Academy which McArdle heads up at Stirling.
The boss was due to visit the Forth Valley players as The Falkirk Herald went to press last night, to have a look round the set-up.
He said: “It’s important for the manager to see the next breed of young players coming through, and have a chat.
“The Academy was one of the key things for me. I’ve looked over the years at the players they’ve produced and gone on to the Premiership in England and hopefully we keep producing those players.
“We want to keep the club progressing in the right direction, but in the Premier League – that’s where the club need to be. The facilities here, the structure, good staff, good board, a really great fanbase in Championship terms – it should be in the Premier League.
“Everything’s geared up and it’s about getting over that final hurdle. We know where we want to be and where I want to take the club and hopefully take that step together.”