ARCHIE Knox readily admits that he never had Barry Robson earmarked as a future manager when he worked with the young midfielder at Rangers back in the 1990s.

Knox, who was assistant to Walter Smith at Ibrox during the Nine-In-A-Row era, certainly enjoyed working with the promising player and nicknamed him “Oleg” because of his uncanny resemblance to Ukrainian defender Oleg Kuznetsov.

However, he did not envisage the Inverurie-born footballer, who went on star for Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Dundee United, Celtic, Middlesbrough and Scotland after his spell in Govan as a teenager, moving in to coaching when he hung up his boots. 

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“Barry’s done really well since taking over at Aberdeen,” he said. “But when he was at Rangers, if you were looking at boys who would become managers, you probably wouldn’t put him in that category.

“Some people, you identify and say they are serious right from the word go. You see from what you do at training and so on. Barry wasn’t that at that particular age.

“He was a young lad who was full of fun and full of laughter. That kind of stuff. It was me that christened him Oleg. Because he had the ginger hair like Oleg Kuznetsov.”

Knox has been pleased to see Robson enjoy great success since taking over from Jim Goodwin at Pittodrie on a temporary basis in January – he led Aberdeen to third place in the cinch Premiership table – and land the job permanently.

He believes the daft laddie he had at Rangers as a kid has taken the same approach that Sir Alex Ferguson, who he worked alongside at both Aberdeen and Manchester United, did during his stellar career in the dugout.

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“He’s come back into football, taken on board all the things he’s learned elsewhere and added to it,” he said. “There’s a confidence about him that you maybe wouldn’t have thought about him as a young boy. One hundred percent, he’s got a no-nonsense side to him now.”

“I think he just has the same philosophy as Alex Ferguson did. Never any nonsense. This is the way I want you to play. This is what we’re going to try and do. And you deal with the players you have got. That’s what he’s done particularly well since he came in.

“From what I hear at Aberdeen, from ex-players such as Neil Simpson and others, he’s been brilliant with all the younger ones as well.”  

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Knox, who was in the dugout when Aberdeen beat Real Madrid to lift the European Cup Winners’ Cup in Gothenburg in 1983, revealed he has been in touch with Robson to offer him some advice for the future.

“I’ve spoken to him,” he said. “It’s simple when you’re speaking to boys you’ve worked with and had through the ranks. 
“All I said to him was there are always pitfalls around the corner so don’t be bumping your gums about what you’re going to be doing or not going to be doing in the next season or whatever. 
“The team has been working hard for him and playing within the capabilities they’ve got, so stick with that. And put the demands on them every day. Like he once got.” 
“Training wasn’t for messing about. You were there to do your bit to the best of your ability. Every session.”