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Billy McKinlay keen to take on Dundee United job

Billy McKinlay in his Dundee United days.
Billy McKinlay in his Dundee United days.

Former favourite Billy McKinlay is ready to return to Scottish football and take on the task of getting Dundee United back to the Premiership.

This week has seen two of the 49-year-old’s former Tangerines team-mates, John Holt and Jim McInally, express the view he’d be a good choice as successor to Csaba Laszlo who was sacked at the beginning of the week.

And the Tele understands the former Scotland man, now a respected coach, is keen to speak to United.

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Billy McKinlay in his Dundee United days.

A product of the famed youth policy, “Badger” played more than 200 games for them before a £1.75 million transfer to Blackburn Rovers in 1995.

His time at Tannadice saw him play in the 1988 Scottish Cup Final loss to Celtic at just 19 and, but for suspension, he’d have been part of the side that lifted the trophy under Ivan Golac by beating Rangers in 1994.

McKinlay has not worked north of the border since his departure for England 23 years ago but he has kept in touch with United’s fortunes and is now ready to return.

He remains one of a list of possible candidates that includes Robbie Neilson, Jim McIntyre, John Robertson and interim manager Laurie Ellis.

When the Tannadice board get down to holding interviews for the vacant post, probably next week, it looks likely he will be one of the men they speak to.

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Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill (right) with assistant coach Billy McKinlay

McKinlay’s CV alone has to make him a serious candidate. He’s been first-team coach with Fulham and West Ham in the English Premier League, was assistant to David Moyes at Real Sociedad in Spain’s top division and worked with ex-United team-mate Michael O’Neill at Northern Ireland.

As a manager in his own right he had a bizarre eight-day spell in charge of Watford before the owners had a change of mind and replaced him. He also had a season at Norwegians Stabaek.

Right now the focus at Tannadice is on the trip to Ayr. A win would enhance Laurie Ellis’s chances of becoming manager but, for the moment, he’s not thinking of that.

“My situation is just a sideshow at the moment, the only thing that matters is the club,” said Laurie.

“This club is hurting after a bad result and, unfortunately, the manager’s left and there is a lot of hurt at the moment.”

This article originally appeared on the Evening Telegraph website. For more information, read about our new combined website.