He may be 66-years old, or young as he prefers to call it, but new Vale of Leithen manager Mike Lawson has absolutely no inclination to hang his boots up yet.
In fact, the former Spartans and Whitehill Welfare boss is looking at his latest post as a new opportunity in a long and illustrious sporting career.
“Age is incidental,” he said. “In fact, I’m lucky I’m retired from my day job now, it gives me more time to concentrate fully on the job I really love.”
Lawson spent 42 years as an IT consultant for investment company Scottish Widows, not quite as long as he has spent on and around a football pitch.
Having enjoyed a successful playing career at St Johnstone, Stirling Albion and Raith Rovers, Lawson stepped into the dug-out in 1991. Over the past 25 years, he has been in charge at Meadowbank Thistle, Arbroath and, more recently, Whitehill Welfare. But it is his stint at top Edinburgh club Spartans that has brought him the most reward to date.
During 11 seasons at Ainslie Park, Lawson delivered six league titles and reached the last 16 of the Scottish Cup on two occasions.
Vale are currently languishing at the bottom of the Scottish Lowland League, having lost their three opening games, and, over the last few years, have only dreamed about reaching the dizzy heights of Lawson’s former charges. However, he believes the Victoria Park outfit have what it takes and admitted that they were one of the few clubs he would have been willing to take on.
“I have only been in charge for a week, but my goals for this season are to get off the bottom of the league, to be the best in the Borders and to get as far as we can in the cups as possible,” he added.
Lawson landed the role after former manager Ian Little accepted a coaching job at Heriot-Watt University. He was contacted by the club’s assistant coach Jimmy Rae, who set up a meeting with director of football Mark Lamb.
“Mark is a salesman and ultimately he sold me the job,” said Lawson, who is looking forward to the challenge of a Scottish Cup tie against Wigtown and Bladnoch on Saturday. More on page 74.