Derry City appoint Ruaidhri Higgins as manager after parting company with Declan Devine

Ruaidhri Higgins
Higgins won a league title as a player with Dundalk in 2014

Former Derry City midfielder Ruaidhri Higgins has been appointed as the club's new manager on a three-and-a-half-year contract.

Higgins, 36, leaves his role as the Republic of Ireland's chief scout and opposition analyst to replace Declan Devine at the Brandywell.

Devine left Derry on Thursday, with the side bottom of the Premier Division as his second spell in charge ended.

It is Higgins' first senior managerial appointment and he is keen to start.

"It's a huge honour, myself and my family are very proud but there is a lot of work to do and I cannot wait to get stuck in," he told BBC Radio Foyle.

"The last 24 hours have been crazy and getting the job has definitely come quicker than I thought it would, but my last four or five years have given me a great grounding. I feel I am more than ready for it.

"In a way I was surprised to get the call. I have had no time to think, it has been 24 hours of madness but I am glad that it is done. We can get on with it now and prepare for the Sligo game on Saturday."

Stephen Kenny
Higgins has had a long working relationship with current Republic boss Stephen Kenny

Higgins joined Republic boss Stephen Kenny's backroom team in May, having previously played for the Candystripes under Kenny during a playing career that included two spells at the Brandywell as well as time at Bohemians, Dundalk and Coleraine.

Higgins was on Kenny's coaching staff at the Lilywhites and had moved up to become assistant manager at Oriel Park before taking up his role with the international squad.

Kenny and other members of the FAI hierarchy wished Higgins well in his new role.

"He has a very bright future in the game and he'll be delighted to manage his hometown club that he played with for nine seasons," said Kenny, who had two spells as Derry City manager.

'I want to catapult Derry back into top bracket'

Higgins takes over a Derry team that lost its opening four opening Premier Division games of the new season before picking up draws against Drogheda United and Dundalk. His first game in charge is away to Sligo Rovers on Saturday.

Despite his coaching career to date having been in backroom and assistant roles, Higgins is confident he can be a success as Derry boss.

"I wouldn't have taken the job on if I didn't feel I could be a success. We had a winning mentality at Dundalk, where we won a lot, and I think I will bring that into this club," he continued.

"Over the period of my contract I want to catapult Derry back into the top bracket of Irish football. That is my ambition and if you do not have ambition then you have nothing.

"I know that will take a bit of time but I am very confident it can be achieved. There are a lot of good, young hungry players at the club and I am confident that we can climb the table."

As far as his own backroom team is concerned, the new manager said there will be a few immediate appointments, but that he has not finalised his thinking on the full make-up of his staff.

It is unclear whether former Celtic and Northern Ireland winger Paddy McCourt, who was Devine's assistant, will remain with his home-town club under Higgins.

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