THE thought of taking his first steps into management had only ever been fleeting in Martin Mooney’s mind.

That was until Sauchie chairman Noel Dalli phoned the former Dumbarton striker out of the blue one night and asked if he would be interested in taking on the role at Beechwood Park.

Mooney had been out of the game since last October, when he and his close friend John Sludden left Lowland League East Stirlingshire, and had been enjoying his footballing hiatus.

But Dalli’s call came just as he was beginning to get itchy feet for a return to the game and he didn’t have to think for long before accepting the chance to succeed Iain Diack.

“This has been the longest period of my career when I’ve not been playing or coaching and I have enjoyed the break,” Mooney said as he spoke to Advertiser Sport. “But I was beginning to get itchy feet the last few weeks and then this phone call came out of the blue.

“We (Dalli and Mooney) spoke a couple of times over the phone and I spoke to the two Darrens (Cummings and Petrie) and we were all on the same page.

“It’s (management) not something I had ever really thought about it. But when Noel asked me I thought about it for a bit.

“I am not saying I had never thought about being a manager but had just never seen myself as being one.

“I worked really well with my good friend John Sludden and spoke to him about it and he basically said ‘why not go for it’.”

The 48-year-old was confirmed as Sauchie’s new boss last week and has been tasked with building the squad ahead of the foray into the East of Scotland Premier Division next season.

A fireman by day, Mooney has also previously worked as an assistant with Berwick Rangers, Camelon Juniors and Kilsyth Rangers with a short stint at Sauchie sandwiched in-between.

But despite his spell in the Wee County being brief, the club left a lasting impression on him and he believes its ambitions match his.

Mooney knows, however, that one of his first tasks is going to be building a squad which can compete with the likes of Bonnyrigg Rose and he is already trying to sign as many of Diack’s former charges up for the new campaign.

“I always remember it being a good set-up and not many Junior teams - although they’re not one anymore - have the same standards as them,” Mooney said. “They’ve got a big park and you can see they’ve done a bit of work to it since I played.

“They are a club that wants to move forward and already have the floodlights and are in a good position.

“It’s not a coincidence that a lot of players were waiting to see what league we were going to be in and perhaps more so to see who was going to be in charge.

“Now they’ve seen who is in charge they can start to make decisions. Hats off to the players and the previous manager for securing a Premier Division place and I am hoping that is enough incentive to players to sign for us.

“We can now put that to bed and look to get a good pre-season under our belts and try to bring in three or four new faces.

“I am not going to just sign players for the sake of it. They’ve got to fit into the was we play.

"I am looking to bring in a bit of experience to compliment the young squad.”

In terms of his approach, the new boss believes his near 300 games at Senior level and decade in coaching will enable him to bring the best out of the young squad.

And despite it only being his first ever job in the hot seat, he isn’t shying away from his ambitions at the club.

He said: “I want to finish as high as possible and see no reason why we can’t win a cup.

“You’ve got to aim high and show the players that we have ambitions.”