Andy Low admits he wouldn’t be Inverurie Locos manager if it wasn’t for Buckie Thistle boss Graeme Stewart.
But friendship will be put to one side when the teams meet at Victoria Park tomorrow with three points on the line.
Low played alongside Stewart in two spells with the Jags and a stint at Locos before working under him as a coach at Buckie.
Last January he left his coaching role with Thistle and took up a similar position with Locos, before succeeding Neil Cooper as manager in October.
Tomorrow will be the first time the duo have been managers in opposite dugouts.
Low said: “I’m looking forward to going back to Victoria Park, it will be strange because I was there for a lot of years as a player and a coach.
“There are a lot of great people at Buckie who I have a lot of time for.
“I left on good terms and I can’t speak highly enough of the club, Graeme, his coaching staff and the players.
“I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for Graeme, so I have a lot to thank him for.
“I’ve learnt a lot from Graeme. His football intelligence is really good and I learned a lot from how he deals with players.
“I think I’ve taken a bit of that, but I’m also my own person and I’m looking forward to testing myself against one of the best managers in the league.”
With Inverurie second in the table, Stewart has been impressed with the job his friend has done at Harlaw Park.
Stewart added: “Andy was one of my coaches for a long time and he’s a very good coach.
“He’s one of my best friends and it will be different, because I wouldn’t say I was friendly with many other managers, with the exception of Kris Hunter.
“Andy’s been texting already this week winding me up and asking me for my team – so I told him I was playing.
“It will be intense during the game and we won’t talk too much beforehand, but after the game it’s forgotten and you go back to being friends.
“I knew the job Andy would do because he’s very meticulous, a good coach and a nice guy.
“I thought he would go in and make a difference, players like him and respond to him.
“He knows how he wants to play and it’s important to have that as a manager because it means you can get your message across to players clearly.”
After wins against Deveronvale, Strathspey and Keith, Low hopes to consolidate their top three credentials with a win against fifth-placed Buckie.
He said: “We’ve got games against Thistle and Fraserburgh where I want to see us coming through and winning them to show we can consistently challenge. These two games are a good test to see where we are.”
MEANWHILE, Locos captain Neil McLean has signed a one-year contract extension to keep him with the Garioch outfit until the summer of 2021.
The new deal will see the midfielder spend a 17th season with the Railwaymen and McLean, pictured above, said: “I couldn’t be happier having signed again for this wonderful football club.
“Andy and Steven Park are doing an excellent job and my hunger and enthusiasm is very much still there. I’m desperate to help win trophies.”
Elsewhere tomorrow, Huntly meet Fort William at Christie Park.