New Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass has insisted that he’s no “rookie” and is confident his background has prepared him for success at Pittodrie.
Glass was appointed as Derek McInnes’ successor in the Aberdeen hot seat last month, but has been in quarantine after arriving from America, where he has been honing his skills as a coach with Atlanta United.
The former Dons player was coach of the MLS side’s reserves, though he had a spell as interim manager of the first side last year. That experience has helped him develop after years preparing for management and Glass has no time for the idea that the Dons have appointed a beginner.
“I’m 44 years old,” he said. “I’ve had a Pro license for about seven or eight years. I’ve been coaching for 12 or 13.
“I don’t consider myself a rookie.
“I’m ready for this job and I think I’ll prove it.”
Glass, who will be in the dugout for the first time this weekend when Aberdeen face Livingston in the Scottish Cup, played for Newcastle United, Watford, Hibs, Dunfermline and Carolina Railhawks after leaving Pittodrie. He believes he learned plenty as a player but his real experience comes from having put in plenty of hours coaching young players before getting the opportunity to step up within Atlanta.
Asked what gives him the grounding to be a success, he said: “Being in charge of teams.
“Being totally responsible for teams, responsible for their performance and responsible for player development.
“I think it’s something that’s important here. You’ve got to be able to handle being in charge of the team, making the decisions along with your staff, and player development’s important too.
“There’s a big youth academy that needs nurtured a little bit to put those boys in the team, if they’re ready, so I think my background helps with that.
“But I think in Atlanta I’ve shown that I can handle big players too. We sold Piti Martinez for $20m on the day of a game when I was in charge last year, so it’s not like I’ve been handling a team that’s not got big time players.”
But the former winger says he has soaked up a wealth of knowledge from all of his time in the game.
He said: “Since I walked in the door here at 12/13 years old and Alex Smith was the first manager I saw, all the way through with Kenny Dalglish, Ruud Gullit, Bobby Robson, I’ve played for some good managers. I’ve played alongside players that have become good managers as well.
“It’s not like I’ve been in environments that have been poor in terms of learning. If I can put that into practice, and show that I’ve soaked up what I can, then great.
“I think I’m as well-rounded a coach as I can be at this age.”
Glass is committed to Aberdeen’s vision for an attacking side that is built on products from the club’s youth system, and believes that success is judged on putting silverware in the trophy cabinet. He believes he can do that and has put together a coaching team to give him the best chance of success.
Allan Russell, who has been working with the England national team as a striker coach, has moved north, and Scott Brown will leave Celtic this summer to take on a player coach role at Pittodrie.
Glass is confident that Brown will be a major player in his team and that Aberdeen fans are excited to have him on board, despite some initial misgivings. The manager said that staff in the club shop believe Brown’s jersey will be the top-selling shirt at Pittodrie next season.
The Celtic captain won’t be the only new arrival, though Glass wouldn’t be drawn on links to Leigh Griffiths, and the manager expects to be backed in the transfer market, as he says his predecessors were.
The 44-year-old knows that a winning team won’t be put together from transfers though, with an emphasis placed on developing youth and improving the side on the training ground. Glass thinks that plays to his strengths and that he has a lot to look forward to, even with the expectation of the Aberdeen faithful to shoulder.
“Every first-time manager has pressure on them,” he said. “Every manager that walks through the door at Aberdeen has pressure on them. I want that sort of pressure and that’s why I’m here.
“The people that I’ve brought along to work with me want the same thing.
“They wouldn’t leave the situations they are in if they didn’t believe that I would be successful and that the club is going to be successful.
“I’m looking forward to what’s coming.”