Rutherglen man relishes the challenge at Houston
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.”