JIMMY NICHOLL has told of his surprise after being released as assistant manager of Dundee.

Nicholl and first-team sports scientist Cammy McDermid both left the club on Friday after Dens Park chief John Nelms claimed his outfit missed out on more than £500,000 at the end of last season forcing the club into 'difficult decisions' regarding cost-cutting measures.

Nicholl, 63, was number two to manager James McPake and admitted it came as a shock when he was told he had no future at the club.

He said: “It was a bit of a surprise when James [McPake] phoned.

“If you half expect things you are prepared for it, but talking to James over the week he said the club are alright, they are fully insured.

“When you are talking like that one minute and then you get the phone call to say the players have to take cuts, I have to cut my staff and unfortunately you’re one of them, it is a wee bit disappointing because you aren’t expecting it.

“Any other time we’ve prepared for it because we’ve probably been sitting at the bottom of the league with some club because they are going to get rid of you anyway.

“Times are difficult and something had to give and unfortunately it was myself.

“I would be more disappointed if it was based on not being able to do my job properly or not being good at my job.

“You have to expect these things, people are losing their jobs and it happens in football.

“Everything is alright, I spoke to James and wished him good luck.

“He has a good wee set-up there, he has a good squad of players and staff so he’ll be alright.”

Nicholl now expects Dave Mackay to step-up as assistant to McPake from his current role as first-team coach.

He continued: “If they are going to make cuts they are going to have to appoint from within the club and that’s what they will do.

“Dave Mackay was in three or four days a week anyway, Dave was doing the scouting for James but he was in there doing a bit of coaching as well.

“So they will now make Dave assistant manager I take it.”

It was not all bad news for Nicholl over the weekend, after he was given assurance by new Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough that he would remain as assistant manager of the national team.

He added: "The phone goes last night at half past eight, I saw his [Baraclough's] name coming up on my phone and I thought 'Oh no here we go, double whammy here!'

"He said 'I just phoned to say I'd like to keep you on as (part of) the staff in the set-up'.

"He was saying things that give you a wee lift, so I'm delighted with that.

"Michael brought him in (to the senior squad) a couple of times, he brought the under-21s to train with us during the day and then we had a meal at night.

"It was brilliant, he is familiar to the senior players and I think he's experienced enough to know just to let them get on with it and don't change too much."

Nicholl was speaking on BBC Sportsound