New Peebles Rovers manager Paul Dickson hoping to improve on best league finish for eight years

Paul Dickson is to carry on as manager of Peebles Rovers next season (Photo: Stephen Mathison)Paul Dickson is to carry on as manager of Peebles Rovers next season (Photo: Stephen Mathison)
Paul Dickson is to carry on as manager of Peebles Rovers next season (Photo: Stephen Mathison)
New Peebles Rovers manager Paul Dickson is hoping to follow up their best league finish for eight years by ending up higher still next time out.

Dickson, with Rovers as a player and assistant coach since June 2022, has been confirmed as their manager for their next East of Scotland Football League second division campaign after taking on that role on an interim basis in January following previous gaffer Ger Rossi’s departure.

The 28-year-old’s five months in charge saw him guide the Whitestone Park club to a sixth-placed finish, on 46 points from 30 fixtures – their highest placing since ending up in the same position in 2016, on 43 from 28.

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Neither resting on his laurels nor dismissing last season’s successes as beginner’s luck, he’s now targeting improving on that placing and overseeing their best finish since they ended up on top of the EoSFL’s first division back in 2015, with 70 points from 28 fixtures.

Paul Dickson is to carry on as manager of Peebles Rovers next season (Photo: Stephen Mathison)Paul Dickson is to carry on as manager of Peebles Rovers next season (Photo: Stephen Mathison)
Paul Dickson is to carry on as manager of Peebles Rovers next season (Photo: Stephen Mathison)

“Sixth was our highest finish for the best part of ten years, so that was sort of unexpected, but I’d always said to the players that they’re more than capable of finishing where they want to if they can build up a bit of momentum and belief,” said Edinburgh-based Dickson, formerly a defender for Vale of Leithen and his home city’s Spartans.

“That something I’ve tried to instil in them since I came in – just to trust each other really.

“We’re hoping to get even further up the table next year and maybe push for promotion.

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“That’s my plan for next season, though obviously it’ll be hard as other teams have got a lot more money than us for the likes of players’ expenses.

“It’s hard to compete and that’s why finishing sixth was probably more than anyone expected last year.”

Dickson’s delighted to have been given the opportunity to carry on as gaffer – helped out with coaching by his dad Matthew, Stewart Robertson, Alan Macdonald and Bob Hall – saying: “It’s a good achievement for myself, coming after what happened over the second half of the season.

“It’s something I didn’t really expect when I joined but I seem to have taken a wee like to managing and it’s good that the club want to keep me here on that basis and let me carry on.

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“I seem to have got my messages through to the boys quite well and the club have obviously picked up a bit since January, so that was a bonus.”

Dickson’s only played in three games since taking over as manager and, injuries permitting, is planning to stay on the sidelines even more next season, saying: “I still want to play but I don’t think it’s fair on the boys if I’m playing and managing as well.

“This season I’ll be more concentrating on the managing side.”

Dickson’s looking forward to going up against one of his former clubs next season following Vale’s relegation from the EoSFL’s first division, taking the Borders’ contingent in the league to three, alongside Coldstream.

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“It’ll be a good couple of derbies and it’ll be good for the boys,” he said.

“I still know a lot of people at Vale so it’ll be good to see them again.

“They’ve had a hard time of late but hopefully in this division they’ll pick up a bit. Maybe it’s more where they should be.”

Since their last top-six placing in 2016, Rovers have finished, in various tables, eighth in 2017, seventh in 2018, 11th in 2019 and 2020, tenth in 2021, 12th in 2022 and ninth in 2023.

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