Derry City Ruaidhri Higgins disappointed but not surprised by Vinny Perth's remarks
Lilywhites boss Vinny Perth criticised his opposite number Ruaidhri Higgins when the Candy Stripes announced that Derry man Patrick McEleney had signed a pre-contract and would be returning home next season.
Perth stated that the Brandywell men showed a ‘complete and utter lack of respect’ and hit out at his former assistant Higgins, claiming the Limavady man should have ‘known better’ especially as ‘he has done very well out of this football club for a long time.’
For the 36-year-old City boss, while he was disappointed by Perth’s remarks, he still holds fond memories of his time with the Oriel Park club.
“I was fine about it, but obviously he has come out and made comments publicly about me personally and about the club,” said Higgins. “It could have been heat of the moment stuff, but I’m not so sure, but my history with Dundalk is very strong,” he insisted.
“Myself and Vinny were involved with Dundalk together a lot of the time, so yeah the comments he made I was obviously slightly disappointed by them, but I wasn’t overly surprised, however I have moved on.
“I hold Dundalk Football Club in the highest esteem and that won’t change because of the success I had there both as a player and a coach and I look back at my time with them with fond memories, but I’m the Derry manager now and Derry City is all that I care about and I want to do what’s best for this club. I feel we are going in the right direction but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
The Dundalk boss, who is back in charge of the club for a second time after being sacked by owners Peak6 last August, also remarked last week that he would do everything in his power to keep McEleney at the club, despite the fact the Shantallow man announced he was Brandywell bound next year.
“I can’t control that and I think Patrick probably felt that he was put in a position that he had to come out publicly to do that story, but look I’m very, very comfortable with the situation,” insisted Higgins.
“Patrick McEleney is a Dundalk player and I think his performances in recent months have shown his commitment to the club and I know Patrick really loves Dundalk Football Club, because he has had huge success there and he’ll continue to give them absolutely everything this year and I have absolutely no doubt about it. We’ll have to prepare for him on Sunday, especially because of the form that he’s in.”
Despite boasting the services of players such as McEleney, Michael Duffy, Will Patching, Pat Hoban, David McMillan and Sam Stanton, the current FAI Cup holders really have had somewhat of a topsy-turvy campaign but Higgins knows all about their talented dressing room.
Nevertheless the Limavady man, who was at Oriel Park last Sunday to see Dundalk suffer a heavy home defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic, is surprised that Dundalk aren’t challenging for the Premier Division title this season.
“You look right through Dundalk’s team and they are littered with absolute class,” he stated.
“As I have said before with the investment in that squad and the quality in that squad is absolutely phenomenal, the biggest surprise for me is that Dundalk aren’t heavily involved in a title race because for me with that level of players in the squad that’s the biggest surprise.”