Ruther­glen man rel­ishes the chal­lenge at Hous­ton

Rutherglen Reformer - - Sports - Dou­glas Dickie

Sandy Stewart is lov­ing life in the USA af­ter mov­ing to Hous­ton Dy­namo on the last day of 2014.

The for­mer Air­drie and Partick This­tle star, who comes from Burn­side, has teamed up once again with Owen Coyle, who be­came the man­ager of Dy­namo in De­cem­ber.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously been Coyle’s as­sis­tant at St John­stone, Burn­ley, Bolton and Wi­gan, it was nat­u­ral for Sandy to be­come his as­sis­tant coach across the pond.

So far, it’s been a mixed bag for Hous­ton un­der the pair, with five wins, five draws and five defeats from their 15 matches so far.

But things have picked up in re­cent weeks, and Sandy is con­fi­dent the side can grab a play­off berth.

Speak­ing dur­ing a rare break back in Ruther­glen, Sandy (49) told the Re­former: “It’s been great.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s been a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence from what we have been used too, but its been good.

“We’re well set­tled and the football is def­i­nitely pick­ing up.

“I think we’ve taken 10 points out of the last 15.

“We’ve gone to a team who didn’t make the play-offs last year so it’s still a work in progress. Over the last four or five games we’ve prob­a­bly de­served even more.

“Ten out of 15 is def­i­nitely a suc­cess in a league where the teams are very close to­gether. We’re im­prov­ing and get­ting stronger all the time.”

Sandy started his ca­reer with Hearts and then Kil­marnock, but he be­came best known for his 17year as­so­ci­a­tion with Air­drie dur­ing two spells as a player and four years as man­ager, dur­ing which time Coyle was ac­tu­ally his as­sis­tant.

He en­joyed man­age­rial suc­cess in his only game as care­taker boss of St John­stone when the won the Scot­tish Chal­lenge Cup in 2007 fol­low­ing Coyle’s de­par­ture to Burn­ley. Sandy fol­lowed him to Turf Moor where they won pro­mo­tion to the Premier­ship.

Spells at Bolton and Wi­gan, how­ever, were less suc­cess­ful.

Hav­ing been in­volved in football north and south of the bor­der for over three decades, Sandy was tak­ing a risk mov­ing to some­where with a com­pletely dif­fer­ent foot­balling cul­ture.

He said: “When Owen got the job, there was al­ready a coach in, but he had said to me there was a job there if I wanted it, he just wasn’t sure when it would hap­pen, but if I wanted to give it a try there was an op­por­tu­nity there.

“I spoke about it with my fam­ily and they de­cided to stay.

“Hous­ton’s pre­vi­ous man­ager went to San Jose and the chance came up, so I had to make up my mind and I wanted to try and give it a go.”

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