Jimmy Nicholl

James Michael Nicholl (born 28 December 1956) is a former Northern Ireland international footballer who played for several clubs, including Manchester United and Rangers.[2] He was mainly a right-back but could also play in other defensive roles. Nicholl won a total of 73 international caps for Northern Ireland, scoring one goal.

Jimmy Nicholl
Jimmy Nicholl, Dudesleeper.jpg
Jimmy Nicholl in 1994
Personal information
Full name James Michael Nicholl[1]
Date of birth (1956-12-28) 28 December 1956 (age 64)
Place of birth Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Position(s) Defender
Club information
Current team
Northern Ireland (assistant manager)
Youth career
1971–1974 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1974–1982 Manchester United 197 (3)
1982Sunderland (loan) 3 (0)
1982 Toronto Blizzard 16 (3)
1982–1983 Sunderland 29 (0)
1983–1984 Toronto Blizzard 49 (8)
1983–1984 Rangers 17 (0)
1984–1986 West Bromwich Albion 56 (0)
1986–1989 Rangers 58 (0)
1989–1990 Dunfermline Athletic 24 (0)
1990–1996 Raith Rovers 128 (6)
1996 Bath City 1 (0)
Total 577 (20)
National team
1976–1986 Northern Ireland 73 (1)
Teams managed
1990–1996 Raith Rovers (player-manager)
1996–1997 Millwall
1997–1999 Raith Rovers
2010–2011 Cowdenbeath
2013 Hibernian (caretaker)
2013–2015 Cowdenbeath
2018 Rangers (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

After retiring as a player, he moved into coaching and management. He enjoyed success as manager of Raith Rovers, winning the 1994–95 Scottish League Cup. In recent years he has worked as an assistant coach for several Scottish clubs, including Aberdeen, Kilmarnock, Hibernian, Falkirk, Rangers and Dundee.

Early lifeEdit

Jimmy Nicholl was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, to Northern Irish parents. His family moved back to Northern Ireland when he was 3. Nicholl grew up on the Rathcoole estate on the outskirts of Belfast. After he began his football career as an apprentice with Manchester United, the club arranged for Nicholl's family to relocate to England, to avoid the unrest caused by the Troubles in Northern Ireland.[3]

Playing careerEdit

Nicholl started his career as a junior player at Manchester United. His senior career started in 1974. He helped the club win the 1977 FA Cup Final and collected a runners-up medal in 1979.

In 1981, he left the club after scoring five goals, joining Sunderland on a permanent contract after a loan spell, and playing 32 games in one season before moving to Toronto Blizzard in Canada, scoring 11 goals in 77 games over the next two years before signing for Rangers.

In 1984, he returned to the English league to sign for West Bromwich Albion where he stayed until their relegation from the First Division in 1986, then returning to Rangers for three years, helping them win two Scottish league titles in the process.

After leaving Rangers, he signed for Dunfermline Athletic in 1989 before moving to a player-manager role at Raith Rovers, having originally joined them on 27 November 1990. Following his time at Rovers, Nicholl played one game for Bath City in February 1996, a 3–0 defeat at home to Macclesfield Town. He was sent off after 55 minutes and never played for the club again.[4]

Coaching careerEdit

Nicholl had great success as manager of Raith Rovers, winning the 1994–95 Scottish League Cup and the 1994–95 Scottish First Division championship. Due to their League Cup triumph, Raith qualified for the 1995–96 UEFA Cup and reached the second round, where they were eliminated by eventual winners Bayern Munich.[5] Having lost the first leg to Bayern 2–0 at Easter Road,[6] Raith took a 1–0 lead at the Olympiastadion thanks to a goal by Danny Lennon.[5] Bayern recovered to win 2–1 on the night and 4–1 on aggregate.[5]

On 28 February 1996, Nicholl was appointed manager of Millwall, who just over two months earlier had been top of Division One but were now sliding down the table. He was unable to arrest the decline and Millwall slipped into Division Two on the last day of the season. He remained at Millwall until the following February, and six months after that returned to Raith Rovers.[citation needed] His second spell at Raith lasted two years, and ended on 14 June 1999 after he had failed to get them back into the top flight.[citation needed]

A 28-day spell as manager of Dunfermline Athletic followed later in 1999, and he later served as assistant manager to Jimmy Calderwood at East End Park. In May 2004, Nicholl followed Calderwood when he took over as manager at Aberdeen,[7] again serving as his assistant until the two parted company with the club in May 2009.[8] He resumed his partnership with Calderwood at Kilmarnock in 2010.

Nicholl was appointed manager of Cowdenbeath in June 2010,[9] but he left Cowdenbeath at the end of the 2010–11 season after they were relegated from the First Division.[10]

Nicholl was then appointed assistant manager of Kilmarnock for a second time, by Kenny Shiels on 15 June 2011.[11] Kilmarnock won the 2011–12 Scottish League Cup under Shiels and Nicholl, but Shiels was sacked by Kilmarnock in June 2013. Nicholl then decided to accept the offer of assistant manager at Hibernian.[12][13] After manager Pat Fenlon resigned on 1 November, Nicholl was appointed caretaker manager.[14] Nicholl left Hibernian soon after their new management team was recruited.[15]

After leaving Hibernian, Nicholl returned to Cowdenbeath for a second stint as their manager.[16] He led the Blue Brazil to avoid relegation via the Scottish Championship play-offs in the 2013–14 season beating local rivals Dunfermline Athletic in the two-legged final. He led the side to the Fife Cup that season. However a very difficult season followed in 2014–15, which included a joint-record 10–0 defeat to eventual champions Heart of Midlothian. The following week, Cowdenbeath managed to draw 0–0 with Rangers. The club was relegated to League One on the last day, after which Nicholl resigned as manager.[17]

While still at Cowdenbeath, Nicholl had also become assistant manager to Michael O'Neill with the Northern Ireland national team in March 2015.[18] He was appointed as assistant to new Falkirk manager Paul Hartley in October 2017, while also continuing in his role with Northern Ireland.[19] He became assistant manager at Rangers in January 2018, assisting Graeme Murty.[20] After Murty left Rangers on 1 May, Nicholl and Jonatan Johansson were placed in interim charge[21] until the appointment of Steven Gerrard on 1 June.

Nicholl joined St Mirren as their first team coach in November 2018.[22] He then moved to Dundee in May 2019, assisting James McPake.[23] Nicholl was released from the club in June 2020.[24]

On 28 June 2020 Nicoll became assistant manager of Northern Ireland national football team [25]



Manchester United



Raith Rovers


Managerial statisticsEdit

As of 13 May 2018
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Raith Rovers[26]   November 1990 February 1996 249 99 72 78 039.76
Millwall   February 1996 February 1997 46 15 11 20 032.61
Raith Rovers   August 1997 June 1999 81 29 20 32 035.80
Cowdenbeath   June 2010 June 2011 42 10 9 23 023.81
Cowdenbeath   November 2013 May 2015 67 20 10 37 029.85
Rangers (caretaker)   May 2018 June 2018 3 1 2 0 033.33
Total 488 174 124 190 035.66


  1. ^ "Jimmy Nicholl". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 8 April 2017.
  2. ^ "Northern Ireland Footballing Greats: Jimmy Nicholl". Retrieved 15 January 2008.
  3. ^ Cameron, Neil (12 April 2016). "Jimmy Nicholl on football, the Troubles, and bringing together divided communities". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Past Players". Bath City FC. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Forsyth, Roddy (3 April 2014). "Raith Rovers recall Bayern Munich clash as they face Rangers in Ramsden Cup final". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  6. ^ McKinney, David (17 October 1995). "Bayern ruin all Raith's dreams". The Independent. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Calderwood agrees Dons move". BBC Sport. 28 May 2004. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
  8. ^ "Dons part with manager Calderwood". BBC Sport. 24 May 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Jimmy Nicholl is confirmed as Cowdenbeath manager". BBC Sport. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  10. ^ "Cameron in for Nicholl at Cowden". BBC Sport. 6 June 2011.
  11. ^ "Kilmarnock confirm management duo". STV Sport. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  12. ^ "Jimmy Nicholl leaves Kilmarnock to join Hibernian". BBC Sport. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Assistant Manager Confirmed". www.hibernianfc.co.uk. Hibernian FC. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon exits Easter Road". BBC Sport. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  15. ^ Young, Chick; Spence, Jim (14 November 2013). "Inverness: John Hughes and Kenny Shiels in for manager's job". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  16. ^ "Cowdenbeath: Jimmy Nicholl returns for second manager spell". BBC Sport. 30 November 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Cowdenbeath: Jimmy Nicholl resigns as boss after relegation". BBC Sport. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Jimmy Nicholl appointed Northern Ireland assistant manager". Belfast Telegraph. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  19. ^ "Jimmy Nicholl becomes Falkirk assistant but remains with Northern Ireland". BBC Sport. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  20. ^ Young, Chick (30 December 2017). "Jimmy Nicholl: Rangers to appoint Falkirk assistant as Ibrox number two". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  21. ^ "Club Statement". Rangers FC. 1 May 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Jimmy Nicholl: Northern Irishman becomes St Mirren first-team coach". BBC Sport. 29 November 2018. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  23. ^ "Dundee: James McPake confirmed as club's new manager". BBC Sport. 31 May 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Nicholl and McDermid leave club". Dundee FC. 26 June 2020. Retrieved 26 June 2020.
  25. ^ "Nicholl to stay on as NI assistant manager" – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  26. ^ "Raith Rovers manager Jimmy Nicholl". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 1 April 2017.

External linksEdit