We are pleased to announce that former Scotland defender Darren Barr has today been appointed as our new head of development squad.
The 32-year-old, who was capped by his country in a draw with Northern Ireland at Hampden in August 2008, was looking to move into coaching and applied for the vacant post following Andy Millen’s departure.
He met with chief executive Warren Hawke and manager Jim Duffy today and penned a contract that will see him take control of the Under-20s from next term.
The ex-Falkirk, Hearts, Kilmarnock, Ross County, and Dumbarton – with whom he plied his trade for the last two seasons – centre-half will also be registered as a player.
This will predominantly see him feature in the Development League West fixtures alongside our youth prospects, but he will also be available to play for the first-team if required.
Hawke told gmfc.net: “We’re delighted to have Darren on board. We had a lot of excellent candidates and we just felt Darren gave us that little bit more.
“He has a full understanding of player development from the playing side of things, actually experiencing it and seeing it happen at Falkirk, who are a shining light as far as player development is concerned.
“He’s a young, aspiring coach and has obviously made the decision that this is the direction that he wants to go in and concentrate on the coaching side of things.
“When we spoke with him, he came across very, very well and has a knowledge and an understanding. And we are very confident he’ll support the crop of youngsters we are looking to convert into first-team players.”
He added: “Darren is registering as a player to give us the option for him to actually play alongside the young boys in the development squad.
“The fact that he is 32 years of age, an experienced player who’s been around the Scotland national squad, means he has a lot to offer, there’s no doubt about that.
“I’d expect him to play in some of the 20s games, because I remember from my time at Sunderland when I played up front in the reserves with the likes of Peter Davenport and Eric Gates.
“They were both ex-England internationals, and I learned more in one game playing alongside those experienced players than I did in 10 games with a guy the same age as me.
“So I think it’s very important that we harness what we can have with Darren in terms of that additional element of being out there on the park.
“As far as first-team duties are concerned, he will be solely there as back-up just in case of an injury crisis. This is about the coaching – Darren has got the job to be our 20s coach and bring on our young players.”
Image: Jonathan Mitchell