Duncan Ferguson relishing return to Scottish football after almost three decades

Duncan Ferguson is back in Scottish football (Nick Potts/PA)
Duncan Ferguson is back in Scottish football (Nick Potts/PA)

Duncan Ferguson never stopped to consider the significance of his return to Scottish football when he seized the chance to take over as Inverness manager.

The former Dundee United and Rangers striker is back in his homeland 29 years after leaving Ibrox for Everton.

The 51-year-old had a swift return to Glasgow in 1995, a year after his move to Merseyside, when he spent 44 days in Barlinnie Prison following a failed appeal against his conviction for assault against John McStay during a game against Raith Rovers at Ibrox.

He never played in Scotland again as he ended his international career in 1997 amid lingering resentment over the Scottish Football Association’s attempts to impose a 12-match suspension – both before his initial court case and after his jail term. The protracted dispute was ultimately resolved in the player’s favour after another court case.

Duncan Ferguson, centre
Duncan Ferguson (centre) won seven caps for Scotland (PA)

When asked how he was feeling about his return to Scottish football, the former Newcastle striker told MFR Radio: “I’m feeling good, I’m feeling great. I suppose I never thought about that really.

“Fitba’s fitba, isn’t it? It doesn’t matter where it is, it can be in England, it can be in Scotland.

“Obviously it’s nice to come back up to Scotland, my home, but that’s not the reason why I took the job. The reason I took the job is because I think this club can move in the right direction.

“But it is great to be back. I obviously come and visit, so I have not been totally down south forever. I have got family up here. But it is lovely to be back.”

The job is Ferguson’s second in management after a brief spell at Forest Green last season. Rovers won only one of the 18 games he took charge of and were relegated from Sky Bet League One.

Stirling-born Ferguson, who has signed a three-year contract, said: “It’s a great opportunity for myself. It’s great to be back being a manager, the thing that I love, coaching, managing, and really excited about the project ahead.

“The club have got a really big ambition to go back to the Premiership. Unfortunately that’s not the case at the moment but they have certainly got a lot of good ideas of how to get there.

“The main reason I came was the ambition of the club and the ambition of myself, and it’s a great opportunity.”

Ferguson spent 14 years as a coach at Everton, most of them working with the first team, and believes he can get Caley Thistle off the foot of the cinch Championship and up the table.

Previous manager Billy Dodds was sacked months after leading the club to the Scottish Cup final, and Caley Thistle sit bottom with one point from six matches.

Ferguson, whose first game will be against Dick Campbell’s Arbroath at Gayfield on Saturday, said: “We need to get some goals, we need to start creating some chances, we need to make sure we are in the opposition box.

“There’s not a lot of points on the board so we need to make sure we change that and change that quickly.”