Scottish Daily Mail



ON a shelf in little Aaron Campbell’s bedroom is a Manager of the Month award. It was gifted to the five-year old by his Grandad; Arbroath manager Dick Campbell. Apparently the Red Lichties boss has become accustomed to sharing them out after building up an impressive haul of the gongs over a managerial career dating back to 1987. Aaron will grow to understand and admire more of what Dick has achieved in the game, but he’s also got the luxury of a footballin­g role model even closer to home in Dalgety Bay. Well actually, in his own home, because Aaron’s daddy is Montrose player/assistant manager Ross Campbell, one of Dick’s sons. ‘I’ve got a fantastic relationsh­ip with my Dad and I care about him and my Uncle Ian (Arbroath assistant manager) deeply, but I’m trying to forge my own career and cracking on in my own direction,’ said 37-year old Ross. ‘I keep in touch with him regularly but I honestly don’t phone and talk too much about football. ‘People talk a lot about role models and there are aspects of my Dad and my Uncle Ian that I will carry for the rest of my life. The most important one is about the humour they bring to it and he talks about “a time to work and a time to play”. He actually lives and breathes that. So he’s authentica­lly him, and underneath that humour he’s successful. ‘I can sometimes find it a bit cringey because I’m his son and if he speaks out of turn you’re like: “Aw, Dad, you can’t say that”, just like anyone else would be with their own parents. But when I played under him at Forfar, it was a fantastic learning experience and there’s stuff that I’ll carry into my coaching career.’ Tuesday’s victory over League One champions Partick Thistle saw Montrose gatecrash the promotion play-offs at the expense of free-falling Falkirk, who conceded two late goals to fall to defeat to Airdrieoni­ans on a dramatic final day.

Ross (pictured) is in his fifth year of assisting manager Stewart Petrie at Links Park and it has been a steady rise since being threatened with the prospect of dropping out of the SPFL. ‘If you look at the three seasons, pre-covid, that Stewart and myself and the group have been together, we’ve had some amazing run-ins,’ explained Campbell, who juggles his coaching role with a full-time job as executive director at Oriam in Edinburgh. ‘When Stewart came in, we were bottom of League Two but finished in the promotion play-offs because we had a great run to the end of the season. Then, the following year, we pipped Peterhead and won League Two with a remarkable points total from the last nine games. ‘Then we had another run the year after we’d been promoted

to make it through to the League One play-offs.’ Campbell gives much of the credit in Montrose’s gradual progressio­n to the emphasis the club place on thorough strength and conditioni­ng work, helped by St Johnstone sports scientist Stuart Macfarlane. He believes the Angus side benefited from getting stronger at the point in the season other squads became fatigued. But there’s also a tip of the hat to the relationsh­ip in the dugout between him and Petrie. ‘He brings out the best in me and I like to think I bring the best out in him,’ said Campbell. ‘He gives me artistic licence to bring that profession­al side between business and sport — I like to bring in what I do with Oriam to what we do at Montrose. ‘He’s not a dictator type. He’s a lot more relaxed than me. He’s brilliant with the players, the board and the fans and has got that amazing way with people. I’m probably a bit more intense than he is, so I like to think we complement each other. We dovetail.’ Keeping plates spinning in the spheres of football, family and work is no easy task and Campbell is eager to underline how much he appreciate­s the support and understand­ing of his wife Helen in these pursuits, especially as Montrose seek to emulate a fellow Angus club managed by another Campbell. ‘Our aspiration is to continue to get better, sustain and eventually chase down Arbroath,’ added Campbell. ‘That would be our long-term aspiration because they are the best part-time club in the country. It is a few years away at least because they’re miles ahead of us, but we’d love to take their mantle.’ If the Gable Endies achieve that goal, no doubt a few awards will be collected along the way, and there’s always plenty space for them on Aaron’s shelf.

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