Former Dundee captain Josh Meekings has backed his former boss Neil McCann to steer Inverness Caley Thistle through their difficult period this season.
McCann took temporary charge of the Highland club this week while manager John Robertson is on compassionate leave.
The ex-Dundee player and manager will face another of his former sides Hearts in a Championship clash on Friday night before heading to Dens Park to take on James McPake’s Dark Blues on Tuesday.
This will be McCann’s second managerial gig after taking caretaker charge of Dundee in April 2017 and guiding them to safety in the Premiership.
He would then take full charge but was sacked after 16 months.
Meekings worked with McCann at Dundee, where he was given a chance after a long-standing knee injury and later named captain of the Dark Blues.
Scottish Cup winner Meekings, who currently plays for National League side Wealdstone, backed McCann to come to Inverness’ aid and says he felt Dundee moved too soon in firing the former Rangers and Scotland winger.
He said: “He was the one who took me in at Dundee and gave me the opportunity after my knee injury. I’m forever grateful to him for that.
“I like his philosophies and the way he wants to play football. I don’t know what the script will be, if he’s able to take his own ideas into it or if he’s following what’s already there.
“But he’s very good at coaching and gets his points across. We did a lot on the training pitch and had good, intense sessions. He demands high standards, so I feel he could potentially do really well up there.
“It comes down to how much he is able to put on to the Inverness team. He’s temporarily in charge – I’ve never seen anything like it before – and it’s obviously a difficult period for John. I hope he comes through it and gets back to managing again.
“Neil is a good coach and I really enjoyed my time with him at Dundee.
I felt we had just addressed what the issue was at Dundee then he had to leave; it was a period I felt if he’d had a bit more backing, he certainly could have turned our fortunes around.
“He’s fiery, he’s passionate and I think he’ll do well up there. As long as the players take to him, I don’t see why they can’t go and have a successful part of the season.
“I always had conversations with Neil. I had a good relationship with him and Graham Gartland, the assistant manager at the time. He’s very professional and wants everything done properly.
“I look forward to seeing how he does. I felt his time was cut short at Dundee when it shouldn’t have been and that’s just my personal opinion. It’s good to see him back and getting an opportunity in the game.”
McCann: I am not here to take John’s job
McCann, meanwhile, has made it clear he has no interest in taking the Inverness job on a permanent basis.
A former team-mate of Robertson’s at Hearts, McCann says the role has been made “crystal clear” for him by Caley Thistle chief executive Scot Gardiner.
He told the Daily Record: “I’ve known Scot a while now, he was very honest and very frank in terms of the situation I was coming into.
“He was very up front about anything and it’s nice to know you have been approached for this type of position.
“John wanted me and the club sanctioned it.
“The conversations between Scot and John were crucial to me because I want to make it crystal clear that I am not in here in any way, shape or form to take John’s job.”
The new interim boss, who will work with Barry Robson and Ryan Esson, added: “Even if it went really well, I am in here until John feels ready to come back – whether that’s weeks or towards the end of the season.
“He knows I am going to give everything for him while I’m here and when he’s ready to come back hopefully the team is in a good position.”