Craig Levein hopes the arrival of a new regime at Glebe Park will herald the start of a healing process for Brechin City and Scottish football.
Levein has made a shock return to the game after being appointed to a director of football-style role by Highland League new boys Brechin on Friday – a move exclusively revealed by Courier Sport.
The former Dundee United, Hearts and Scotland manager’s first task will be to help Brechin recruit a new boss to replace Michael Paton.
Moves for a new manager are expected to take place in the coming days.
Then it will be time to take the much-maligned club on a charm offensive with their local community, businesses and the rest of Scottish football.
“The last few years have been far from ideal, pretty horrible at times to be honest,” Levein told Courier Sport.
“Scottish football has been at loggerheads and it’s been hard to watch.
“This whole situation could have been dealt with in a much kinder and more confidential manner. That has to be a change going forward.
“The pandemic has hit a lot of people hard and Brechin haven’t been immune to that.
“As a club they’ve become caught up in a negative cycle where nothing has gone their way for the last four years.
“They got to the Championship in 2017 and it has been downhill ever since.
“They started losing games went on a downward spiral. When the negativity sets in it can be very hard to stop the rot.
“You see it a lot in England. Clubs make it up to the Premier League but get relegated and losing becomes a habit and before you know it they are in League One or League Two.
“That has happened to Brechin and now it’s time for change.
“It’s time for positivity. It’s the only way forward for Brechin.
“We have to be positive on and off the park. We need a manager and players who have the belief they can win games and we need to fully embrace the community.
“There are people here who can make a positive difference to not just the football club but Brechin as a whole.
“Kevin won’t make anything from this, it’s actually going to cost him a lot of money. He’s doing it because he cares and his passion for Brechin is infectious.”
“I’ve known the chairman Kevin Mackie for a very long time.
“He’s one of my best friends and I know just how passionate he is not just about everything to do with Brechin.
“He’s grown up in Brechin. His dad Ron started the business Mackie Motors and Kevin has taken it on.
“Kevin won’t make anything from this, it’s actually going to cost him a lot of money.
“He’s doing it because he cares and his passion for Brechin is infectious.
“I also know Grant Johnson who’s also on the board and he’s a very, very clever guy.
“It’s going to be a lot of hard work and it will be by no means an easy route back to the SPFL.
“People will see us as a scalp and there are some very ambitious clubs in the Highland League but we’ve got a strong basis to start from.”
Craig Levein is back to his roots at Brechin City
Levein’s managerial career began at Cowdenbeath in 1997, at the age of 33.
He cut his coaching teeth at Central Park for three years with a hands-on approach.
His job went beyond picking the players to take the field on a Saturday.
He was charged with raising the Fife club’s profile and developing their external income streams from flea markets and stock car racing.
And while he has since gone on to rack up 643 games as a manager at Hearts, Raith Rovers, Dundee United, Leicester and Scotland, he has never forgotten his roots.
“My career has come full circle and I’m genuinely excited by the challenge at Brechin,” said Levein. “I loved it at Cowdenbeath and I’ll love it here.
“I thrive on being involved in football. I did a lot of thinking during lockdown and, like so many, I found it hard to watch games on TV.
“We need a manager and that’s a priority and then there will be a focus on player recruitment, talking to sponsors, engaging with the community and trying to get the club back to where it wants to be.
“This is a club with a lot of history and we want to give the people of Brechin a club they can feel proud of.”