David McGurn has backed Robbie Thomson to thrive following his appointment as Raith Rovers’ goalkeeping coach.
Thomson, 28, has succeeded Stark’s Park legend McGurn in the role and will be overseeing the progress of Jamie MacDonald — seven years his senior — and youngster Kyle Bow.
However, McGurn is adamant Thomson has earned this opportunity and, despite his tender age in coaching terms, boasts laudable experience running his own academy and working within the Celtic youth set-up.
“Robbie has a real hunger to coach and learn,” McGurn told Courier Sport. “It was a real pleasure to work with him and Jamie [MacDonald] and there were always new ideas and interesting discussions about the best way to work.
“He has studied for his badges, runs his own coaching company and does some work with the Celtic academy — so the appointment absolutely makes sense and I’m sure he’ll do really well.
“Robbie has a fantastic work ethic and is tireless in his preparation for every aspect of his job. That will only continue now he is in a full-time coaching role.
“Last season, Robbie’s attitude, determination to train well and stake his claim to the gaffer [John McGlynn] was absolutely exemplary.”
Indeed, McGurn is quick to point out that, even with the added responsibility of drawing up session plans and overseeing in the pool of keepers, Thomson will still push Jamie MacDonald all the way for a starting berth.
“Make no mistake, Robbie will still want to play, and he’ll show that every day,” McGurn continued. “I remember games at Morton and Alloa last season — atrocious conditions; wind; rain — and he came in and dealt with the challenge brilliantly.
“Raith are in a great position to have two top class goalkeepers who can both step in and perform in the Championship.”
‘Fantastic’ Jamie MacDonald
McGurn departed Rovers at the end of last season, with the club’s switch to a full-time structure incompatible with his job as a lecturer at Glasgow Clyde College.
After 10 years and 256 appearances for the Stark’s Park outfit, he is in the club’s Hall of Fame and arguably Rovers’ greatest ever goalkeeper. But he has nothing but respect for the man currently in possession of the No.1 jersey.
“Jamie MacDonald’s pedigree is fantastic,” continued McGurn. “He has played in the Premiership, been in Scotland contention and worked with great players and coaches.
“That just shines through and he has looked after himself to an extent where he is not slowing down.
“There was never an issue with whatever you asked from him, he gave you 100 per cent every session and his willingness to adapt to tactics was fantastic. He is a lesson for anyone about playing the way you train.
“Jamie is reaping the rewards for that because, at 35, he is still performing at a magnificent standard and making big saves in big matches.”