New Aberdeen Women co-manager Stuart Bathgate says the opportunity was one he “couldn’t turn down”.
The former Westdyke coach has filled the void left by Harley Hamdani, who emigrated to Australia in the off-season.
Bathgate will take charge of the newly-promoted Scottish Women’s Premier League 2 outfit alongside Emma Hunter when football resumes after the coronavirus shutdown.
Explaining how he came to take on the role, Bathgate said: “I knew from dealing with Harley he was moving on and the job then appeared at the tail-end of last year and I went in to have a chat with (head of Aberdeen youth academy coaching) Gavin Levey.
“The opportunity to come in and work alongside the youth academy set-up and to progress myself, as well as help the team, was one of those opportunities I couldn’t turn down.”
Bathgate coached at Westdyke from 2016 onwards.
With the Westhill outfit playing in the same league as the title-winning Dons last term, and training alongside them at Lawsondale, he was already familiar with the players and the quality which exists in the team he’s taking on.
He said: “I had seen the progression that had been made there with Emma and Harley, from my perspective having been on the receiving end of some of the performances last season it’s very different and I think seeing what the girls did last season was fantastic and it was great to see.”
Bathgate has a long-standing relationship with Hunter, who has also coached for Westdyke.
He sung his new co-boss’ praises, saying: “The experience that Emma’s got in the game is up there with anyone else I’ve ever coached with, so it’s just fantastic.
“The time Emma and I have spent off the training pitch and conversations we’ve had already about the whole philosophy we’re trying to build around the team is a step up for me, which is one of those things that you relish.”
Although the Covid-19 outbreak has limited Bathgate’s training time with his new charges, which he described as “frustrating”, he’s trying to stay in touch with them.
He said: “I came along to watch the Hearts and Kilmarnock games at the start of the season and it was after the Kilmarnock match that I got in for the first session.
“It’s just been a case of getting to know each other on both sides, me and the players. I need to understand on a player level what makes them tick, how they train and play.
“It’s the basics of getting to know the team, so I’ve got a bit of catching up to do and it’s frustrating that we’re now in the situation that we are in that I can’t do that, although we are all staying in touch whilst we’re not together.”