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Derek Holmes interview

8th January 2012

So how did your move to Airdrie come about?

Before we went on holiday the manager phoned me and asked me if I was interested.  He said he knew there’d be other teams interested but I said I’d definitely be interested.  Obviously I wanted to stay full-time but the way football is going and the age I am then I said I’d look at the possibility.  So I went on holiday, had a chat with my wife – Airdrie was close to home, I also had a few options to go back down to England – but the way things were I spoke to the manager and he put the club across well.  So I came in and I’ve been doing my coaching badges and I’ve enjoyed it so far.

Scouting missions and coaching badges; does mean you’re definitely going to stay in football after you’ve stopped playing?

[Going to watch Albion Rovers was] probably just because I was injured, but I’d like to stay in the game, I think I’ve got a lot to offer and think I’ve still got a job to do on the pitch.  The first six months at Airdrie have been stop start personally – I haven’t hit the back of the net as much as I’d have liked but I think I’ve contributed in goals; which has been pleasing for myself.  But wee Giggsy has been flying and the boys have been doing fantastic.

Is it refreshing for you playing alongside the younger guys?

The likes of Giggsy and wee Scott Morton have got great talent and they’re good, fully confident players.  They’re young, enthusiastic and willing to learn and you can see that in Giggsy’s form this season.  If he keeps doing that he’ll get a move to a bigger club which will benefit him and probably benefit the club as well.

Do you give them any advice in training?

To be fair the manager is excellent – he’s always talking to the players.  If they need any advice I let him know what he’s got to try and when he’s got to relax and he’s taken it on board.  He’s doing really well, his finishing is fantastic and his link-up play is getting a lot better.  As I say he’s still young and can learn and that’s the main thing.

Were you like that as a young player?

Nah, I was never a prolific goal scorer.  I always gave my fair share of goals, but I was never a 20-goal-a-season striker – I was always round about 10/15.  I was more a target man: I won the headers, I held the ball up, and I assisted more than scored.  It’s always good to play alongside a guy like that who scores goals and he’d probably say he needs a big guy beside him to do the dirty work while he gets the chances and puts them away.

When you were at Queen of the South though, you did score the “perfect hat-trick”...

I did, against Inverness.  That was a good day, and a good couple of years at Queens.  It was pleasing because I’ve only ever scored two hat-tricks in my career.

Would you say QotS was one of the more successful spells of your career?

Not really.  When I was at Hearts we won the Scottish Cup, then when I was at Ross County we got promoted.  Then I went down south and got promoted with Bournemouth.   I also won two championships with Carlisle.  After that I came back up and won the First Division with St Johnstone.  So for myself personally, I’d say I’ve had a good career!  Not many people can say that – at this level – they’ve got five winners medals and a Scottish Cup.  Hopefully I can add that this year!

It seems like you’re a bit of a good luck charm when it comes to getting promoted!

Well every club I’ve played for apart from Queens and Rotherham I’ve won championships with, so you could say that.  Although Rotherham could have been different had they not gone into administration. (The club were second at the time the administrators came in)

What was it like playing in Europe with Hearts?

It was good.  It was the Cup Winners Cup; we played a team from Estonia called FC Lantana Tallinn – which was great for me, the experience was brilliant, we had a great team then.  I managed to score against them in the home leg and then we went onto play Real Mallorca – who went onto come second in the whole tournament.  It was fantastic for me as someone who I think was only 18 at the time.

What was the standard of football like in England compared to the level you’ve played at in Scotland?

It’s good.  You get more time in England, whereas up here it’s more hustle and bustle.  Down south they give you more time on the ball and let you have the ball for a while.  Up here it’s just kick it before they try and tackle you!  It’s getting better to because the higher up you go then there’s more money obviously.  And the players are filtering down; guys who you could see playing in the Premiership/Championship are coming down again to League One/Two because of the standard that teams can now buy.

Interview by Douglas Barrie.

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