Ruaidhrí Higgins says Derry job was too good to turn down

Former Candystripes player left his role in Stephen Kenny’s Ireland backroom staff

New Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins and first team coach Raffaele Cretaro. Photo: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho

New Derry City manager Ruaidhrí Higgins and first team coach Raffaele Cretaro. Photo: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho

 

Ruaidhrí Higgins says taking over as Derry City manager “means the world” to him.

The former Candystripes player will take the reins for the first time against Sligo Rovers on Saturday after he left Stephen Kenny’s Ireland backroom staff to replace Declan Devine at the Brandywell.

With Derry rooted to the bottom of the Airtricity League with just two points from six games, Devine was relieved of his post earlier in the week before Higgins was swiftly brought in on a three-and-a-half year contract.

The 36-year-old spent eight seasons at the club during his playing career and had been the chief scout and opposition analyst for Kenny at Ireland but the top job at the club in the city where he lives was too much to turn down.

“It means the world, it’s the club where I have the biggest affiliation,” Higgins told the BBC.

“I live in the area; I know what the club means to the city and it’s a huge honour and privilege for me to try and drive this club on.

“It’s a big challenge, there’s no getting away from it but I believe in this group of players, or I wouldn’t have taken it.

“Performances have gradually improved but the next objective is to get three points on the board. We need to get a win and I’m sure confidence will grow from that and we can kick on and climb the table.”

Higgins had previously worked with Kenny at Dundalk and played under the current manager when he was at Derry so splitting up that partnership was a tough decision.

“It was a tough decision,” said Higgins. “Stephen has been amazing to me over a long period of time and I owe him everything.

“He’s been a mentor for me for a long time and that was the biggest wrench.

“It was very difficult to leave him but he understands what this club means to me and he understands the opportunity that’s been presented to me. I had to make a quick decision and I went with my gut feeling.”

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