Neil Warnock watches a game at Greenock Morton in 2022
Warnock watches a game at Greenock Morton in 2022

Veteran manager Neil Warnock yearns to manage in Scotland and once came close to becoming Heart of Midlothian boss.

The 74-year-old has been in charge at 16 clubs and has the record for most matches managed in English professional football.

“I love Scotland – I’ve always wanted to manage in Scotland,” he told BBC Scotland’s Sacked in the Morning podcast.

“I have never had any offers, although I think I was close to Hearts once, but they gave it to an idiot from Latvia! So they obviously didn’t want me.”

Hearts have never had a Latvian manager but had a succession of bosses from countries that had made up the former Soviet Union – including Lithuanian Valdas Ivanauskas twice – under former owner Vladimir Romanov.

Warnock, who came out of retirement to keep Huddersfield Town in the Championship last season, says his holiday home in Argyll has helped him through the difficult times in his career.

“I’ve got bricks in the wall at Greenock Morton because that’s our local team as we have a house at Dunoon,” he added.

“My wife Sharon’s grandparents came from Dunoon, so from the ’90s we’ve gone up there. It’s so peaceful.

“We play golf at a course called Blairmore and Strone. It’s beautiful and so relaxing – and it’s helped me in my career. I’ve been able to go up there at different times, during international breaks, and clear my mind.”

His affection for Scotland meant that even a candid report from one of his players who was on loan at Aberdeen from Sheffield United did not put him off applying for the Pittodrie job.

“I applied for the Aberdeen job once and didn’t even get a reply, which I thought was bad manners,” Warnock said.

“I had a lad called Laurent D’Jaffo playing up there and I asked him what it was like and he said ‘gaffer, yes come, but it is the only place I’ve ever known where the seagulls don’t land – it’s that cold!'”

The podcast with new St Johnstone manager Craig Levein and Amy Irons covers a wide range of topics with Warnock – including his skills as a chiropodist.

“I liked it and I was good at it, but one day Derek Pavis, my chairman at Notts County, was getting on my nerves and I used to do his feet,” added Warnock, who has managed more than 1,600 games.

“He had an ingrowing toenail and I could have done it out without hurting him, but I got the clippers right down the side and he screamed. I said ‘Derek, it might hurt a little bit but it’ll be better for it’.”

The Yorkshireman expects to be back in a job after “a nice Christmas” because he is enjoying his new routine of working from February until the end of the season.

He was sacked by the Terriers in the middle of September despite signing a one-year deal in the summer after saving them from relegation.

“It was a great time to get the sack,” he added. “The Ryder Cup was coming up, the Rugby World Cup was starting and it was the Cricket World Cup.”

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