Archie Knox web EXCLUSIVE Interview

Last updated : 18 January 2005 By E.Anderson - West Lothian News

Gough & Knox
With a career stretching back to schools football, through junior football and onto senior football as a player then manager and assistant at some of the game's biggest names, few fold have a CV as impressive as Archie Knox.

Archie cut his managerial teeth at Forfar where he started his career as a senior player. After spells playing at St Mirren and Dundee United, Archie went back to Forfar as a player manager then up to Aberdeen as assistant manger to Alex Ferguson for four-and-a-half-years before becoming manager at Dundee for a couple of years.

He then went back up to Aberdeen for three months before moving along with Alex Ferguson to Manchester United for four and-a-half- years.

After that, Archie spent seven years at Rangers as assistant manager to Walter Smith before teaming up with him again at Everton.

Since then, he's had a spell with Mark McGee at Millwall and a spell with Eric Black at Coventry.

Now, after being away from Scottish football for six years, Archie has moved into the Almondvale dugout alongside new Lions boss Richard Gough.

So has he seen any changes in Scottish football during that time? "There has been quite a number of changes in fairness," he said.

"I think the money side of it is certainly not the same as it was six years ago. Everybody’s having to pull in their purse strings everybody’s having to give kids the opportunity.

"But everybody’s in the same boat now, even the likes of Rangers and Celtic are having to go and get freedom of contract players; they’re obviously going to get the best of what’s available but then other teams obviously see youth policy as the way forward for them.

"It’s only a couple of months go against Kilmarnock that Alex Clelland gave two or three of them an opportunity to come into the team. It’s a lot to expect them to do it on a regular basis, certainly if they show enough – and that’s always the criteria – and they’re good enough, then they’ll get an opportunity."

Archie added that it was difficult for the bigger teams to introduce younger players into the team because of what’s at stake. "But clubs that don’t have any alternative are pushing younger ones through," he added.

"Motherwell are an example, Aberdeen have been an example and there are others such as Hibs.

"It’s like everything else, you’ve got to work hard enough and be good enough before you’re going to get presented with the opportunity."

First impressions are generally lasting and Archie's been impressed with what he's seen in his short time at Livingston. "It’s a well run club," he stated, "and it’s a nice club.

"Obviously they’ve had their difficulties, their highs and lows like everyone else and obviously the administration thing’s been a problem for them, but the people who work at the club are great and everybody’s keen to make a good go of it and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t remain in the Premier league and get themselves up alongside other clubs. They’ll be as good at as least half a dozen other clubs in the league."

In the immediate term, though, Livi's goal is simply to avoid relegation. "Absolutely," said Archie, "there’s no doubt about that. You never know what can happen but it looks as if six have separated themselves a wee bit so our goal is to maintain our status.”

For the future, Archie reckons Livingston need to start to get a nucleus of players together who are going to be at the club for two or three years.

"That's so you get a bit of steadiness about your club and a bit of stability about your club," he explained.

"If you’re continually changing players and letting this one go and bringing in other ones you don’t really get a stability. I don’t think there’s ever going to be any chance of players being at Livingston for five and six years and stuff like that, but you need to be there for two or three years so you can lay down a base and you can change one or two players at a time as opposed to trying to get eight or nine players.

"We are in a market where we’ve got to get players who suit our budget. Everybody looks at their staff and everybody would want the opportunity to try and do something in the transfer window and we are not any different. Whether that can be achieved or not is a different matter, but we’ll certainly be attempting to do that."

Archie said that he and Richard had identified positions that need strengthening "We know just exactly how we think the team should play," he added, "and what we possibly need in certain positions."

Speaking about his reunion with Richard Gough, Archie said: "It’s an opportunity for him to cut his teeth in terms of the managerial side of things and he’s been given an opportunity with a decent club with at least some sort of budget available to him to try and strengthen the squad. He’s got an opportunity to try and improve the team."

This interview first appeared in the Livingston FC Matchday magazine, priced £2.50 at every home match.