• Attention turned quickly from highs of Wednesday to preparing to face Livingston on Sunday
  • Took it back to basics to ensure reaction to Dons drubbing against Motherwell
  • Feels ready to take job on permanent basis and feels he has demonstrated his capabilities 

It’s been a hectic week, have you had a chance to draw breath yet?

“It certainly doesn’t get easier every time I’m in this position because of the obvious reasons - it’s difficult for everybody involved.

“But if I’m being honest my attention turned very quickly from the highs of Wednesday night for Paul [Hanlon] and Lewis [Stevenson], which was fantastic for them, to getting ready for Livingston and preparing the team to be ready to use the feeling from Wednesday which needs to be there again come the final whistle on Sunday.”

You were part of Nick Montgomery’s backroom staff - how has his departure affected you?

“It is difficult. It’s always difficult. I’ve unfortunately been in this situation with four different managers and it never gets any easier. 

“You form a bond with these people and you feel responsible. I know the manager makes the decisions and whatever they decide to go with you have to back them 100%, which is my job. 

“My job is to try to make players better so when we’re not getting the right results and there is a bit of adversity, you do feel responsible.”

What things have you changed?

“When you’re coming off the back of a heavy defeat to Aberdeen, when you’ve lost four goals at home, the clearest thing is to try to make the team harder to beat, but also to try to put an emphasis on a few non-negotiables that I believe I’d like my teams to have.

“Or, at least to see from the players, 100% effort and commitment all the time; whether that’s sprinting back or sprinting forwards, and just a collective team performance where everyone is doing everything they possibly can to make sure that one, you’re harder to beat because I’ve always known if we can be better defensively and a bit stronger that way, with the players we’ve got in the dressing room and the players we’ve got who are good going forward and able to affect games, the quality we’ve got means we’ll always score goals.

“That’s never been a concern, I just put a bit more emphasis on making us harder to beat and shutting up shop a bit more.”

This is your fourth interim spell - do you approach it the same way, with the same methods?

“I think, over the time, I’ve probably had a crash course in coaching. I went straight into working with Jack Ross which was great, because I went from transitioning from a player to understanding what he wanted his coaching staff to do and I was still delivering things I’d done before as a player.

“So it was a great introduction for me; it wasn’t as if I went in as a first-team coach under Jack and I had to take training and go on my own straight away and be judged.  I was able to find my feet quite slowly and take my time and really learn from Jack and John Potter which was great.

"When Shaun [Maloney] came in, it was a completely different way of working, and every single manager has been completely different in the way they want to work. 

“I’ve tried, on my journey so far, to take things on board that I believe are good, what I maybe don’t agree with - because everybody’s got an opinion - but it’s about forming what I believe is the way I would want to do things. I think I’ve tweaked it along the way because I learn things all the time. But my principles and my identity remain the same.”

Does your experience of Scottish football give you an extra insight? Nothing fazes you?

“I think the word experience gets thrown around a lot. What is experience? Does it need to be 500 games or does it mean you’ve played 200 games in the league?

“I’m fortunate to have been at this club for the last 10 years through many highs and many lows. So the experience I have gained, I have been put into situations from a coach's point of view you would very rarely get so early in your coaching career, cup finals, European football, Premiership games.

“It’s been a lot in such a short period of time. But it’s one I’ve tried to put together the way it should be.

“It definitely helps understanding the league and the players and what it takes to be successful as a player at this club. There’s a pressure that comes with that. It’s a fantastic club but a demanding club and rightly so because of the infrastructure and fans.

“So there are definitely challenges with not having that level of insight into the league and players.”

Could the club have done with more Paul Hanlons and Lewis Stevensons this season?

“At times everyone needs to accept it’s not been good enough. One question I have always asked of everyone - whether it’s players, staff, everyone in the building and at Easter Road - is whether everyone is doing the best they can and pulling in the same direction. 

“That needs to be what happens moving forward. If not you won’t be as successful as you can be. Look at yourself and ask if you can do more and if the answer is yes then you need to do better.”

Are you getting closer to the day you want to be a manager?

“It’s purely the timing of what’s happening at the moment, I’m so respectful and don’t think it’s right to talk about me because I’ve worked with previous managers and people who have just lost a job.

“But I do also think there comes a point where the job I’m doing at the moment - I’m not saying I feel comfortable doing it because of the situation - but I’m not shying away from it.

"I believe I can do it. I’ve demonstrated I can. Ultimately it’s what the club want to do moving forward. If they feel I’m ready to do it and they want me to do it then that’s a decision they can make.

“Until that day comes I will continue to do the best for this club every single day.”

Is Marshall fit for Sunday?

“Marsh is still struggling a little bit with his neck. He’s done a bit this morning and we will see how he goes.  It is still in the balance a little.”

Does it look like he'll leave and not get a chance for an on-pitch farewell?

“We will see how he goes between now and Sunday. I won’t get pulled into contract stuff, that’s nothing to do with me at the moment. I’m just taking care of the players who are available to me at the moment and trying to get the best out of them to make sure we get a positive result.

“Marsh will be in a similar situation, waiting to find out what’s happening moving forward. Ultimately what he wants to do - that’s a question for Marsh. He has had a fantastic career and he’s still more than capable of playing.

“You can’t have enough people like that in your dressing room. The level he’s played at, how calming he is. I’d have loved to have played in front of him just with how he is every day in training and also that calmness.

“In the chaos, when you need someone to calm things down, he has that wealth of experience. You don’t play the number of games and at the level he has without that.”