PETER HOUSTON, the new Falkirk manager, admits he cannot wait to lock horns with old friend Craig Levein in the SPFL Championship.
Having stood shoulder-to-shoulder for nearly all their careers, the former Scotland managerial team will go head-to-head next term after Levein recently returned to Hearts as director of football.
Houston was unveiled as Gary Holt's successor yesterday, fending off over 40 applicants for the post.
In what is shaping up to be an extremely competitive second tier, Houston, who quit his post as Celtic's European scout, is excited by the prospect of facing Rangers and Hibernian. But he admits that going up against Hearts and Levein, whom he assisted at Tynecastle, Leicester City, Dundee United and Scotland, will be special.
"Craig will be up in the stand with a shirt and tie on and I'll be down in the dugout with a tracksuit on," he said. "He is more than welcome to come in for a cup of tea, or a glass of wine - depending on the result. I'm delighted first and foremost that Craig is back in football because I think he is still a loss as a manager.
"However, he has Robbie Neilson there as head coach and Stevie Crawford there to assist him. Things will get tough at some stage and to have a guy like Craig in the back ground to chat to, I don't think you'll get anyone better. Craig is an extremely knowledgeable guy, he'll not interfere with them but he will be there as an ear when things are going wrong.
"But when things are going smoothly he'll still chat to them and he'll let them get on with it."
Houston admitted he has been dreaming of becoming the Falkirk manager for nearly two decades.
"I left here 18 years ago and on the back page of the local newspaper I said, 'I have to go away and learn to hopefully come back one day as a manager'," he said. "I didn't think it would take me 18 years to come back, I'm back now.
"The attraction of Falkirk was too much. As soon as I heard they were interested, the fire was still in my belly to get out there every day and work with the players and try and make them better. There was only one thing I wanted to do."