Thursday, 2 December 2010

Andy Watson

Season 1983/84 was a successful one for Hearts. They had completed their first season back in the Premier Division and had not only avoided relegation thereby ending the yo-yo syndrome they had become synonymous with, they qualified for the UEFA Cup the following season. When one of the mainstays of that side, Davie Bowman, was sold to Coventry City in 1984, there was disappointment among some Hearts fans. However, manager Alex MacDonald paid £70,000 of Bowman’s transfer fee to Leeds United to secure former Aberdeen midfielder Andy Watson.

The Aberdonian made his Hearts debut in a 1-0 win over Greenock Morton just after Christmas 1984. He was a regular in the Hearts midfield in the mid 1980s alongside Kenny Black and Gary Mackay. His first goal for Hearts came, ironically, at the ground he had spent his formative years - Pittodrie - as Hearts came from 2-0 down to grab a 2-2 draw against the Dons in February 1985.

Season 1985/86 was a momentous one for Hearts who embarked on a long unbeaten run in the league and manager MacDonald was loathe to change a winning team. Watson was very much a peripheral player that season and while he made more first team appearances, the following season it became evident Watson would be behind players such as Mackay, Black and Iain Jardine when it came to patrolling Hearts midfield.

Watson became one of the few players to move across Edinburgh when he joined Hibernian for £30,000 in 1987. However, his career at Easter Road was similar to his one at Tynecastle. He began coaching the Hibs youngsters before joining his old Aberdeen team mate Alex McLeish at Motherwell in 1994 where he was appointed Big Eck’s assistant manager. It was a partnership that was to prove successful and he returned to Easter Road when McLeish was appointed Hibs manager four years later. The pair transformed Hibs from a First Division side to SPL challengers and their achievement was recognised by Rangers where Watson joined McLeish in 2001.

The duo spent five successful years at Ibrox before answering the call of the nation, Watson assisting McLeish as Scotland manager at the beginning of 2007. After ten months, McLeish left the Scotland job to take charge of FA Premiership side Birmingham City - and inevitably took Watson with him.

Today, Andy Watson is still assisting Alex McLeish at St. Andrews as they strive to make Birmingham City an established FA Premiership side.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting that Mike. Andy was a dynamic member of the Dons 1980 championship side - the sort of player that we are woefully missing these days (Hartley excepted), but the emergence of Neil Simpson and Neale Cooper saw him more or less becoming a permanent bench-warmer till he moved on.