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Page last updated at 09:15 GMT, Tuesday, 23 June 2009 10:15 UK

May backed to hit ground running

Alex Smith, Eddie May and Steven Pressley
May (centre) will head up the new Falkirk management team

By Thomas McGuigan

The man described as the "quiet assassin" is being tipped to make his mark as Falkirk manager.

Eddie May has succeeded John Hughes after moving up from head of youth development at the club.

Steven Pressley has been named as May's assistant, with Alex Smith installed as director of football.

And May's former team-mate Paul Kane, who played alongside him at Hibernian in the 1980s, says he is the right man to fill Hughes's sizeable shoes.

Kane, 43, believes the Falkirk hierarchy would have been impressed by May's ability to unearth gems for the future.

"It's a lot for a club to give somebody who runs their academy a job. Not many clubs do that. So, it just shows you how highly they rate Eddie," Kane told BBC Scotland.

"Scott Arfield summed it up well the other day when he described Eddie as the quiet assassin.

"People will think that Eddie's a different type of person to John Hughes, maybe not so outgoing, but as Scott said: 'when Eddie has got something to say, you listen'.

"I think it speaks very highly of him when you hear Scott, who has been under his command for three or four years from the youth level, saying it will be great when he comes up.

Paul Kane
People at Falkirk say Eddie deserves his chance and I'm sure he'll take it a stage further

Paul Kane

"Falkirk can see that the kids like Eddie; they know he can spot talent and the way the credit crunch is going they see that the best way to take the club forward is to give Eddie and Steven their chance."

May played for youth side Hutchison Vale before joining Dundee United in 1984.

Unable to break into the first team under Jim McLean, he joined Hibs a year later and went on to make more than 100 appearances for the Easter Road outfit.

A move to Brentford in 1989 was followed by a return to Scotland to join Falkirk.

May then went on to enjoy spells with Motherwell, Dunfermline, Airdrie, Berwick Rangers and Australian side Western Knights, before rejoining Falkirk under Hughes in 2003.

He was appointed head of youth development at the Bairns the following year.

And his tenure coincided with players such as current captain Darren Barr, Scott Arfield and Thomas Scobbie making the grade.


Kane said that, despite May's failure to break into the first team at Tannadice, his time there was far from wasted.

"He always said he had a great grounding through the Jim McLean schooling," explained Kane.

"And I'm sure that's why a lot of the kids have come through at Falkirk because you've got to remember that at United - when Eddie was there - Jim was one of the best for bringing through young talent.

"Eddie's taken that on in his role with Falkirk; he's his own man, it's now Eddie's show."

Kane believes the new managerial set-up at Falkirk will help the new boss.

"Eddie and Steven will be making the decisions and they've probably already made a couple of mistakes that not a lot of people have seen," said Kane.

"And I'm sure with Alex Smith being there and using all of his experience, they will be using him very heavily."

Kane, who runs a pub business and attends Hibs games home and away, said May and Hughes - who left Falkirk after six years in the summer to join Hibs - shared the same football philosophy.

"Eddie might not have the character traits of John, but he's definitely got the trait of carrying on the football John wanted to play.

John Hughes
John Hughes and Eddie May will lock horns in the SPL next season

"Their way of playing the game is getting the ball down and passing. When you see the way Eddie's U-17s and U-19s play the game, you can see why it carried on into the first team.

"For Eddie to finish in the SPL again would be a great success because you have to remember he has no experience as a manager."

So, the stage is set for May to cut his managerial teeth in Scotland's top flight, with a couple of experienced hands in the background willing to catch him if he stumbles.

And Kane is looking forward to the prospect of seeing May and Hughes lock horns in the new season.

"It will be strange for me seeing one former team-mate and one ex school-mate managing two SPL teams," he laughed.

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see also
Falkirk name May as new manager
23 Jun 09 |  Falkirk
Hughes appointed Hibernian boss
08 Jun 09 |  Hibernian

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