Barry Molloy believes Ruaidhri Higgins has the pulling power to attract top players to Derry City

FORMER DERRY City captain Barry Molloy believes if Ruaidhri Higgins can mould the current City team in his own image then his tenure at Brandywell will be ‘a very exciting time’.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 7:57 pm
Updated Monday, 26th April 2021, 8:00 pm
New Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins has been tipped for success at Brandywell.Photograph by JOE BOLAND.
New Derry City manager Ruaidhri Higgins has been tipped for success at Brandywell.Photograph by JOE BOLAND.

Molloy, who played alongside Higgins in the Derry midfield for almost nine years, says the 36 year-old was always destined to become a top coach. Admittedly he’s surprised Higgins left his role as Ireland Chief Scout but Molloy reckons the decision to appoint Higgins on a three-and-a-half year deal shows the club’s intent on building for the future.

“I know Ruaidhri’s from Limavady but he’s a Derry man and played his youth football in Derry so I’m not surprised this job has come for him,” said Molloy.

“The fact they gave him a three and a half year contract shows you Derry are looking to the future. Ruaidhri is relatively inexperienced but he’s been a student of the game for a long time and if Derry are going with a youth development policy, it’s good to have someone with his knowledge.

“Hopefully Ruaidhri is the future of the club and can take them to the higher parts of the league where Derry deserve to be. I’m delighted he signed a three and half year deal because that shows a vision for the future rather than a quick fix.”

Higgins comes from the ‘School of Stephen Kenny’ having worked closely with the Ireland boss both as a player and as opposition analyst and Molloy wasn’t surprised to see his former teammate get off to a winning start in Sligo.

“It’s not surprising,” added Molloy, “His knowledge of football was always evident. Most of us were just enjoying playing but he was always interested in learning about it.”

The next transfer window will give an indication of the type of team Higgins wants to build and Molloy has no doubt he has the pulling power to attract top players.

Ruaidhri Higgins and Barry Molloy (right) celebrating their famous UEFA Cup victory over Gretna alongside Kevin Deery, Stephen O'Flynn and David Forde in 2006.

“There are good players there already. Taking the pressure off those players is probably what Ruaidhri did (against Sligo). There’s going to be a lot of hard work to get them playing the way he wants but if it’s any reflection of the way Ruaidhri was then it’s going to be a very exciting time for Derry.

“Ruaidhri has always been an attractive footballer and I’d imagine his style of play is going to be the same with a lot of possession based football. It’s going to be attractive and winning games breeds confidence. You’ll see the best of Ruaidhri when he gets that one-to-one work with his players and moulds the different roles he wants.

“He came from the ‘School of Stephen Kenny’ who gave his players the confidence to express themselves. I reckon Ruaidhri is going to be the same.

“Between Ruaidhri and (Rafa) Cretaro, they’ve got so many years of experience in the league and I think it’s a great appointment. Ruaidhri has always had a good reputation and will have plenty of contacts and players he knows coming through whom he can target to improve Derry. His role as an analyst for Ireland means he’s got knowledge of players in England and Scotland as well.

“If Philip (O’Doherty) backs him with money, it could be invaluable that Ruaidhri has got the scouting knowledge.”

Higgins is yet to appoint an assistant manager and Molloy is eagerly awaiting a call.

“Tell him I’m available for discussions,” laughed the ex-City skipper.