Neale Cooper thrilled to be back at work at Ross County

ASSISTANT BOSS AT ROSS:  Neale Cooper during his Pools reign. Picture by FRANK REID
ASSISTANT BOSS AT ROSS: Neale Cooper during his Pools reign. Picture by FRANK REID

NEALE Cooper today spoke of his thrill to be back in work – just 30 days after leaving his beloved Hartlepool United.

The popular Scot has accepted an offer from former club Ross County to be their assistant manager.

Cooper will be in the dugout today alongside boss Derek Adams at the Global Energy Stadium for their vital Scottish Premier League game against Dundee United.

The 48-year-old, who admitted the struggles at bottom-of-the-table Pools took their toll, told SportMail that he could not be happier to be back in work.

“Football is my life, but if someone had said to me a day or two back ‘do you want a manager’s job?’ I would have knocked it back,” he explained.

“But my role here is not as manager.

“I am here to help Derek, a manager who is doing very well.

“I signed Derek for Ross County when I was here and he’s doing a fantastic job – he’s got them into the SPL and taken the club to a Scottish Cup final.

“He wants some experience around him, so I was happy to say yes.”

Cooper said the chance to get straight back into the game came almost out of the blue.

“Last week Derek rang me and asked if I fancied coming up to training,” said Cooper, whose son Alex is a midfielder with County.

“I did and I really enjoyed it – they’re a great bunch of boys.

“Derek rang again this week and asked if I’d go to the club for a meeting.

“I wasn’t sure what was happening but I said yes and they offered me this job.

“I like the club and Derek is a relatively young manager who has fantastic ideas.

“This has all happened so quickly but I’m pleased to be back in the game.”

SEE Saturday’s Mail for full story