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Higgins kept busy in the calm before the storm

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Ruaidhri Higgins

Ruaidhri Higgins

SPORTSFILE

Ruaidhri Higgins

A weekly Microsoft Teams chat has functioned as the bizarre introduction to Ruaidhrí Higgins' new job.

He didn't get a chance to say a proper goodbye to his old colleagues either. But Ireland's new chief scout and opposition analyst is thrilled by the opportunity to work at international level, even if he's currently negotiating the calm before the storm.

Dundalk were left reeling by Stephen Kenny's approach for their assistant manager. Higgins played for Kenny with Derry and Dundalk, and was then brought onto the coaching staff at Oriel Park before the Dubliner moved on to his national service. In that sense, the approach wasn't a shock even though the timing was surprising.

The 35-year-old told the 'LOI Weekly' podcast that Kenny has given the new backroom team work to do at the start of each week through the lockdown. Yet as the person who will be tasked with crafting scouting reports on future opponents, Higgins knows that the real meat of his job will be when fixtures start coming thick and fast.

"I had an unbelievable time at Dundalk but this was impossible to turn down," said Higgins.

Regular

"We're having regular Microsoft Teams meetings, and we go into great detail on what we're talking about. The preparation will be meticulous.

"We've had a lot of time at the moment so we can all analyse Finland and Bulgaria and the other teams we could play this year. What's going to be hugely important is if there's very little time between matches, like from a Friday to a Monday, and the staff won't have as much time to prepare in that period.

"When there's very little time in between, they are going to rely on the information I bring."

The Limavady man left home for Coventry at 14 but he sensed early in his career that he was never going to reach the top as a player because of a lack of mobility.

He was regarded as a good reader of the game and former teammates say Kenny and Higgins were always on the same wavelength.

"He felt we probably saw the game through the same eyes," said Higgins.

"I remember going to games with Stephen and I'd say, 'Will we sit together?' and he'd say no because you can influence each other by sitting together. His view would be, 'I trust your eyes, come back and give me the information I need.'​​​​​​​

"Stephen puts unbelievable trust in people. From early on in my career, I felt I might have a bit more to offer when I stopped playing."