Ruaidhri Higgins has plenty to smile about as City boss: Paul Hegarty

​PAUL Hegarty has much admiration for Derry City boss Ruaidhri Higgins but the Brandywell club's new No.2 believes the Limavady man will become a much more successful manager once 'he gets a smile on his face'.
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​There has been plenty to smile about since Higgins took charge in April 2021 with back to back runners-up spots, an FAI Cup triumph and an extended run in Europe ensuring an unprecedented demand for the hottest ticket in town at a sold-out Brandywell.

Last season's success was achieved against a backdrop of adversity both on and off the field as Higgins tragically lost his older brother Kevin. His assistant Alan Reynolds departed to Waterford and the well documented injury crisis hampered their title challenge.

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Higgins is entering just his third full season in the Brandywell hotseat and has put together a squad of real quality and title winning experience. His new assistant knows exactly what it takes to get over the line at the end of the season. He's not renowned for having a smile on his face himself but Hegarty reckons that enjoyment and the ability not to dwell on a bad result, could be a key ingredient.

"He has a bit of experience behind him now," said Hegarty. "Football doesn't change that much or as much as some people want you to think. It is a bit quicker than when I was playing but basically the game doesn't change that much and Ruaidhri knows that as much as anyone else."He had a tough time last year but hopefully we get a few results and he gets a smile on his face and he could be a better manager for that. I found it difficult to have a smile on my face even when we were winning matches. It was always on to the next one and you tend to see managers move on very quickly and don't carry the hurt from losing matches - they seem to do much better."