Michael Tidser grew up hating Barry Ferguson as he led Rangers to 15 trophies as captain of the Ibrox club.
Now, however, the former Celtic youngster has just scored the goal that secured SPFL football for Kelty Hearts in Ferguson’s last game in charge.
Tidser’s winning strike in the 1-0 victory over Brechin City on Sunday helped them seal a 3-1 pyramid play-off to earn the Fife side a place in League Two.
However, that strike proved to be the final goal under Fergie’s New Central Park reign as the former Rangers captain quit just 24 hours after securing Kelty’s historic promotion.
Ferguson is set to hold talks with Alloa over replacing Peter Grant as their boss but could also be the target for other high-profile clubs with Dunfermline and Ross County also on the look-out for a new manager.
“I’m sure my team-mates will slaughter me for this but I think he’s a top manager,” said midfielder Tidser after the Brechin win.
“I’ve played down south, I’ve played abroad and I’ve played in Scotland for a number of years and he’s right up there with the previous managers I’ve been with.
“I don’t want to disrespect any managers I’ve worked with because they’ve all got their own qualities.
“He was like that as a player too. He can get clubs to wherever they want to get to.
“Yes, he’s very demanding but do you know what? I don’t mind it one bit because I’m a wee bit like that myself.
“I came in 18 months ago and when I first spoke to him he said he would make me captain.
“That’s a big honour coming from a man who captained Rangers and his country.
“He’s very demanding but he has also got the respect of the players.
“I’d rather be with a manager like that than one who doesn’t really bother. He pushes you and the boys have responded well.
“The manager was a big selling point for me – apart from the fact he played for Rangers. I had to have a serious think about it!
“No I’m only joking and we have a laugh about that.
“He was one of the best players to come out of the country over the last however many years.
“I grew up hating him but I like him, kind of, a wee bit!
“All joking aside, when he spoke to me it was a big pull for me and it’s worked out really well.”
— Kelty Hearts Football Club (@KeltyHeartsFC) May 23, 2021
Kelty beat Brechin home and away to achieve their pyramid play-off final success.
It was a game they had first hoped to play in 2020, after winning the Lowland League title, but the early curtailment of football due to Covid-19 led to the controversial cancellation of the pyramid play-offs.
However, the wait has proved worthwhile and Kelty will now go into the new season determined to follow the success of recently promoted Cove Rangers and Edinburgh City.
“We’ve gone from being a Junior club to now get in the league,” added Tidser. “Where can we go next? You’ve got to try and aim high.”