Sheffield United: Rangers legend backs David’s managerial credentials

David Weir makes his managerial debut when Notts County visit Bramall Lane tonight. The match was selected to open the new season due to its historical significance as part of the governing body's 125th anniversary celebrations � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
David Weir makes his managerial debut when Notts County visit Bramall Lane tonight. The match was selected to open the new season due to its historical significance as part of the governing body's 125th anniversary celebrations � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Having served the likes of John Greig and Walter Smith, Ally McCoist is not easily impressed or prone to gratuitous compliments, writes James Shield.

So his words carry weight when, after lauding David Weir’s captaincy skills, he predicted the former Rangers’ great is destined to become an equally successful manager.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s League One encounter between Sheffield United and Notts County, Weir’s first competitive fixture in charge of the South Yorkshire club, McCoist told The Star: “Knowing Davie’s character and attributes as I do, it was always a natural progression for him to take this route.

“The qualities which served him so well as a player will also serve him well in management. Davie’s attention to detail is second to none. That’s why he was able to achieve such longevity in the game.

“He’s meticulous in everything he does. His fitness work and his tactical preparation.

“Davie’s always been a thinker, he’s always cared deeply about his football and I’m fascinated to see how he does but I know he’s going to do very well.”

McCoist, who scored 355 goals for the Glasgow giants before stepping into the Ibrox hotseat, was a member of Smith’s backroom staff when defence anchored by Weir guided Rangers into the 2008 UEFA Cup final.

Five years later, having seen Zenit St Petersburg deny him a European winners medal, the 43-year-old also became a manager in his own right when United appointed him earlier this summer. Craig Brown, Smith and David Moyes, who oversaw Weir’s coaching apprenticeship at Everton, were among those to support his candidacy.

“Davie has worked under and for some of the very best in the business,” McCoist said. “He’ll be able to pick their brains and I know from experience that’s worth its weight in gold.

“But he’ll do things his own way as well because he’s got strong principles and ideas.

“When we brought Davie back to Scotland we needed a leader and he fitted the bill perfectly.

“He struck up a fantastic partnership with Carlos Cuellar and that was one of the biggest reasons why we got to the UEFA Cup final that year.”

Aware that a fantastic playing career encompassing two decades and four clubs is no guarantee of managerial success, one of Weir’s first tasks at Bramall Lane was to appoint Adam Owen, Rangers’ head of performance, as his assistant.

Together with Lee Carsley, Owen’s presence is designed to limit the element of risk and ensure a United squad which reached last season’s play-off semi-finals fulfils its potential.

“Adam is a good guy and excellent at what he does,” McCoist said. “We didn’t want to lose him and were sorry to see him go but the chance to come back to England and be nearer his family was one he couldn’t turn down.”

Weir also enters the new campaign with McCoist’s best wishes.

“Davie is a top man. The biggest compliment I can pay him is that he was the perfect Rangers captain,” he said. “Right up there with greatest Rangers captains ever and that is some accolade.

“He conducts himself fantastically well on and off the pitch. He demands the same from those around him.

“Davie is a great family man. The type of person everyone wants to see do well.”

*Twitter: @JamesShield1