Dundee manager James McPake admits he was gutted to lose assistant boss Jimmy Nicholl as part of cost-cutting measures at Dens Park.
The experienced right-hand man and sports scientist Cammy McDermid were let go by the Dark Blues last week, with club captain Josh Meekings leaving on Monday after rejecting the reduced terms offered to him.
Discussing the departure of his No2, McPake hailed the contribution of former Man United, Rangers and Northern Ireland defender Nicholl and said he “loved” working with him.
He said: “He has had a fantastic career in coaching and will be missed by everyone at Dens.
“On a happy note, I was delighted to hear that he will be getting kept on at Northern Ireland.
“I wish he was staying with us, too, but it’s not to be. He is a victim of this global pandemic.
“It is a tough one for me and the players but it is even tougher for Jimmy and Cammy, who has also left the club.
“It is an absolute gutter for the two of them. But no one could have predicted how this virus would affect clubs like ours.”
The Dark Blues are all but certain to promote first-team coach Dave Mackay to take over as number two but no decision has been made yet.
McPake made the point that he has other things on his mind right now.
“I think it is too early to say what will happen,” said McPake.
“That (replacing Nicholl) is not what’s in my head just now.
“What I am thinking about is losing members of staff due to cost-cutting measures.”
McPake yesterday confirmed he will not be involved in pay cut talks between the club and its players.
The Dark Blues’ squad members have been asked to agree to salary reductions of around 30% and while Meekings said no and headed off to pastures new, experienced midfielder Paul McGowan has gone the other way and agreed to stay.
McPake stressed it will be up to individuals to do what is best for themselves and their families, and the pay discussions will be done at managing director level by John Nelms.
He said: “I can confirm that there have been talks about deductions but that’s for individuals and that’s way above me.
“That’s something that I am not really involved in and, even if I were, it wouldn’t be fair for me to speak about as we are talking about people’s livelihoods and salaries.
“Cuts have been offered but what each individual’s cut is, that’s private between them and whoever is dealing with it at the club.
“It will just be individualised. They (players) may come back to the club with different ideas, I don’t know.
“They might all come back and say yes or they might say no. It is a tough one for me to predict and, as for a deadline, I genuinely don’t know.”
Asked if the coaching staff had also been asked to take a pay cut, the Dens boss replied: “That’s not something I will go into.”
As for Meekings, there were definitely no hard feelings towards the defender from his now former gaffer.
McPake added: “Meeks is gone and that’s a shame because he did great for me as captain of this club.
“He was offered a deal and it was his choice to say whether it was acceptable or not.
“He chose to reject it but I wish him well for the future.
“It is sad to see him go but I fully understand decisions that people make, particularly under the circumstances we are in with the pandemic.
“I have no bad words to say about him at all.”
On a brighter note, McPake was understandably upbeat regarding McGowan’s decision to say yes to his new terms.
He said: “I am delighted that he committed himself to the club.
“Gowser is a leader without even realising he is a leader.
“He might moan a lot on the pitch at times but that is because he has high standards and he is often the one to express an opinion when he thinks the players are not hitting those high standards.
“At times like these, you need people with character at your club and Gowser certainly has that.
“He never shirks responsibility and that is why he has such real affinity with the Dundee fans.
“I think the talks with him were over and done within a day or so. That shows you how keen he was to stay.”