It never sat easy with Tony Fraser to come second best as a player.

So it's likely he'll have the exact same mindset as Cumbernauld United’s new manager, replacing Kieran McAnespie.

The combination of a debilitating back injury and his advancing years had forced Fraser to retire from his pivotal role in Rutherglen Glencairn’s midfield at the start of last season and operate in an “enjoyable” coaching capacity under Willie Harvey. However he simply could not turn down the opportunity to take up his first ever  managerial role.

"I wasn’t out there looking to move away from the Glens and felt content with the job I was doing," he said. "But truth is I’ve always fancied a crack at managing my own team possibly because I have played under wonderful gaffers like Willie, Johnny Miller and Frank Lynch at Beith as well as the pairing of Willie Patterson and Scott Smith during my first stint with the Glens.

“Tapping into the many lessons I’ve learned from those many experience, because I’m a very good listener, is a challenge in itself  even if this chance to be my own man has come along much earlier than I could ever have imagined.

“The calibre and character of those guys goes a long way to explaining why I absolutely loathed letting my manager down as a player so if I can get the Cumbernauld guys adopting that same attitude towards  me then I’ve cracked it.”

Tony went on to reveal how the Cumbernauld job offer landed on his doorstep.

”I was totally in the dark about Kieran’s quit decision as it wasn’t common knowledge when United's Chairman George Watson telephoned about a week ago,” he admitted.

”He asked if I would come for a chat during which he outlined his plans for taking United forward and I was very impressed but still didn’t commit myself and asked for time to think things over and to put out a few feelers.

“We met up again last Friday night and I shook his hand and agreed to join but asked George to keep matters under wraps until I spoke first to Willie Harvey as a mark of  respect for him and his influence on my career

“Yet what should have been a relatively straightforward task proved unbelievably difficult not least because thinking over what to say to him caused me to have a sleepless night and I wasn’t any better prepared  the next morning when I  made four aborted calls before sitting down, taking a big breath,  and getting the deed done.

“Willie as every bit as disappointed as I expected from someone who introduced me to the Junior ranks as a raw teenager at Vale of Clyde but he nevertheless did make a point of wishing me  the best of luck in my new venture …unless Cumbernauld are playing Glencairn of course.”

The aforementioned 'feelers' put out by Fraser included approaches to a number of close colleagues and last night he confirmed former Cumbernauld team mate Chris Zok would be coming on board as his No 2 along with ex-Maryhill boss John Hughes in a coaching capacity.

Tony insisted: ”Being able to convince Ian Wilson to  continue as our goalkeeper coach is another boost as I can think of few better in that role and it’s a delight to think of the quality and know-how of the guys who will be standing at my side.

“It’s no exaggeration to say we are all champing at the bit and keen to get cracking on with the job and right now our combined focus is on the biggest fix of all - identifying those players  we want to form the nucleus of our Cumbernauld side.

”Our midfield battler Clark Thomson is one and it’s a real shot in the arm to have him staying at the club despite signing interest from Darvel but he’s not our only dressing room talent as we envisage Jordan Kennedy having a major role to play, if he can steer clear of the injuries that plagued him last season, and we are also looking for full back Aidan McIlduff to show why he was previously on Celtic’s books.

“There are others among our current squad whose qualities I could easily rave about however there’s no escaping the fact that some players will be moving on to make way for the new faces we have designs on signing.

”We will honour a promise made to Willie and not target any of his Rutherglen Glencairn players... well not this season anyway.” 

Tony knows he can pick up the phone any time to his former Glens gaffer for advice but is not planning to make any calls during the 2021/22 season.

He explained: “Willie will have enough on hands, in much the same way as myself, in trying to deal with an insane Premier League set-up that will see fully seven clubs relegated .

“It beggars belief to think a season will be played out where the aim is to balance the number of participating clubs and it really is nonsensical in the extreme to think of the pressures that teams will be playing under week-to-week.

“Cumbernauld United will go into this new season with no fear as befits a side already tipped for the drop and we'll give it our best shot and see what happens.”

Word on the transfer front suggests the Cumbernauld boss has been pipped to Ryan Deas by Drumchapel while Clydebank have snapped up Kevin Green from Beith.