Robbie Neilson ready for MK Dons manager role, says Alex Smith

Stevie Crawford, Alex Smith and Robbie Neilson
Robbie Neilson (far right) and Hearts assistant Stevie Crawford (far left) worked with Alex Smith at Falkirk

Alex Smith believes former colleague Robbie Neilson will relish the opportunity to be MK Dons manager, should he complete his proposed move.

The English League One club are expected to appoint Hearts head coach Neilson, 36, subject to compensation.

Neilson has been working under Hearts director of football Craig Levein.

"He might welcome more of his own freedom if that's the right word," said Smith, who has held both managerial and directorship roles.

"He might feel he's got the ability now to fly out there and do his own things without maybe having to refer or having concerns what other people are thinking. But I know he loved it at Hearts and he'll have appreciated the experienced he's picked up there.

"He loved working with Craig Levein.

Managers need 'a certain nature'

Falkirk technical director Smith, who won trophies in charge of Stirling Albion, St Mirren and Aberdeen, played a similar role to Levein during Steven Pressley and Gary Holt's spells in charge of the first team at the Bairns.

And Neilson assisted Smith during the latter's brief spell as Falkirk interim manager in 2013.

"I think the manager himself has got to have a certain nature," Smith told BBC Scotland.

"[Current manager] Peter Houston is a very strong personality, he is a very experienced person. He makes his own decisions when he has to, but he listens as well.

"I helped to mentor Steven Pressley more than Peter, I wouldn't even attempt that with Peter. But with Steven and Gary Holt they needed a little bit of advice here and there. It was always advice, it was never a case of suggesting they were going down the wrong road or 'do this or do that', it was always done in an amicable fashion.

"I think you need a certain nature to do that and a certain nature to receive it."

Top Stories