Sandy Stewart joins Chennaiyin FC as assistant coach

Fifty-five-year-old Scotsman Sandy Stewart has joined Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) outfit Chennaiyin FC as assistant coach, it was announced on Thursday. The move comes after Owen Coyle signed with Chennaiyin as head coach on Tuesday. Stewart has been Coyle’s assistant at all his clubs since 2007.

Coyle’s trusted lieutenant over the years, Stewart is excited about the Indian challenge and helping the club bounce back from the recent slump. “I am really excited to be joining Owen (Coyle) at Chennaiyin. Hopefully we can bring some of our experience to the players and team, and help the club achieve success again. Owen and I love a challenge, and it will be exactly that with Chennaiyin in a competitive league like the Hero ISL. We have a talented squad that creates a lot of chances. Now we need to ensure we convert those chances and keep winning consistently,” said Stewart prior to his arrival in India.

New Chennaiyin head coach Owen Coyle is elated to have Stewart by his side as he embarks on a first stint in Asia. “Sandy (Stewart) is an astute tactical mind with a genuine love for the game. I am sure he is as excited as I am for this new challenge and is really looking forward to meeting the players and staff at Chennaiyin. I am certain that along with his experience and expertise, we will surely hit the ground running and get the results we need,” Coyle said.

Stewart began his playing career in Scotland in 1987 with brief spells at Hearts and Kilmarnock before moving to Airdrieonians in the second-tier two years later. He went on to become a vital member of the squad, helping them qualify to the Scottish top-flight in 1991. Stewart won the Scottish Challenge Cup twice and finished runners-up in the Scottish Cup as many times in over 300 appearances for Airdrieonians over two spells at the club.

Stewart’s managerial career began as player-manager of Airdrie United (formerly his former club Airdrieonians), where Owen Coyle also came on board in the role of player-coach. During his time there, Stewart led Airdrie to top-flight promotion and a Scottish Challenge Cup final.

From there on, Stewart has been assistant coach to Coyle at St. Johnstone in the Scottish Premier League followed by Burnley and Bolton Wanderers in England; winning promotion to the Premier League with Burnley in 2008-09 through the play-offs. Then after assisting Coyle in the English Championship with Wigan Athletic, Stewart joined him at Major League Soccer side Houston Dynamos as well. On Coyle’s return to Europe, Stewart continued as his deputy at Blackburn Rovers followed by Ross County. Stewart’s latest assignment was that of Caretaker Manager at Scottish Championship side Ayr United earlier this year.

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