Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes is looking forward to “trying something different” as he begins life without his long-time assistant Tony Docherty alongside him.
The pair have worked together for the bulk of the past 15 years, at St Johnstone, Bristol City, Aberdeen and Killie.
However, 52-year-old Doherty took the opportunity to emerge from his close friend’s shadow when he accepted an offer to become manager of newly-promoted Dundee at the end of May.
McInnes has reshaped his backroom team over the past few weeks by promoting coach Paul Sheerin to an assistant role and bringing in former Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald as first-team coach.
“I wasn’t always sure, I’d never really had any indication from Tony that it was something he wanted to do but I can see a lot of sense in (him taking) the Dundee job,” said McInnes when asked about Docherty’s surprise move into management.
“He lives in Dundee, he knows (Dundee sporting director) Gordon Strachan. And I think once they spoke to him they convinced him it was the right thing for him.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for him and I’ve no doubt he’ll do everything he can to be a success there. We wish Tony well. We had a long relationship and we’ll still have a strong relationship, it’s just not a working relationship any more.
“He’s busy with his stuff and I’m busy with mine. I’ve got Alan in now to add to me and Paul and I’m delighted to get Alan in, he’s a manager who only a few years ago got Partick into the top six.
“Archie’s been a good friend to me since we played together at Dundee United so I’m delighted to get him in.
“That’s what happens in football, things change. It’s more unusual that you work together for that length of time.
“A lot of time people say you should change your assistant every few years to keep you fresh so this is an opportunity for both of us to try something different.”
McInnes is hoping Kilmarnock – who secured their Premiership survival on the last day of last season – can emulate St Mirren next term by forcing their way into the top six.
The Buddies joined the big five city clubs of Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibernian in the top half last term.
“I think every club outwith the big five would have wanted to be St Mirren last year,” said McInnes.
“It’s incumbent on Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen to be in the top six along with the Old Firm, and St Mirren managed to be that other team.
“We have got to all strive for that. It’s a challenge to do it but St Mirren managed it last year and we need to try and be that team this year.”