Jimmy Nicholl

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Jimmy Nicholl
Jimmy Nicholl, Dudesleeper.jpg
Jimmy Nicholl in 1994
Personal information
Full name James Michael Nicholl[1]
Date of birth (1956-02-28) February 28, 1956 (age 61)
Place of birth Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
1971–1974 Manchester United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1974–1982 Manchester United 197 (3)
1982 Sunderland (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
1999 Dunfermline Athletic (caretaker)
2010–2011 Cowdenbeath
2013 Hibernian (caretaker)
2013–2015 Cowdenbeath
2015– Northern Ireland (assistant)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

James Michael Nicholl (born 28 February 1956) is a Canadian-born 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.

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 some Scottish Premier League clubs, including Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and Hibernian. His most recent managerial position was for Scottish Championship side Cowdenbeath. In March 2015, he took over as assistant coach for Northern Ireland.

Playing career[edit]

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.[3]

Management career[edit]

Raith Rovers[edit]

Nicholl had great success at Raith Rovers, winning the 1994–95 Scottish League Cup and the 1994–95 Scottish First Division championship. Due to their League Cup triumph, Raith Rovers qualified for the 1995–96 UEFA Cup and reached the second round, where they were eliminated by eventual winners Bayern Munich.


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]

Raith Rovers (2nd spell)[edit]

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]

Assistant management[edit]

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, again serving as his assistant until the two parted company with the club in May 2009.[4] He resumed his partnership with Calderwood at Kilmarnock in 2010.


Nicholl was appointed manager of Cowdenbeath in June 2010,[5] but he left Cowdenbeath at the end of the 2010–11 season after they were relegated from the First Division.[6]

Back to assistant management[edit]

Nicholl was then appointed assistant manager of Kilmarnock for a second time, by Kenny Shiels on 15 June 2011.[7] 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.[8][9] After manager Pat Fenlon resigned on 1 November, Nicholl was appointed caretaker manager.[10] Nicholl left Hibernian soon after their new management team was recruited.[11]

Cowdenbeath (2nd spell)[edit]

After leaving Hibernian, Nicholl returned to Cowdenbeath for a second stint as their manager.[12] 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 club was finally relegated on the last day although they had the highlight of drawing 0–0 with Rangers late in the season. After finishing bottom of the Scottish Championship and being automatically relegated to the Scottish League One, leaving Cowdenbeath fighting for existence, Nicholl resigned as manager of The Blue Brazil after a troubled season.[13]



Manchester United


Raith Rovers

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of 2 May 2015
Team Nat From To Record
G W D L Win %
Raith Rovers[14] Scotland November 1990 February 1996 249 99 72 78 39.76
Millwall England February 1996 February 1997 46 15 11 20 32.61
Raith Rovers Scotland August 1997 June 1999 81 29 20 32 35.80
Cowdenbeath Scotland June 2010 June 2011 42 10 9 23 23.81
Cowdenbeath Scotland November 2013 May 2015 67 20 10 37 29.85
Total 485 173 122 190 35.67


  1. ^ "Jimmy Nicholl". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 8 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "Northern Ireland Footballing Greats: Jimmy Nicholl". Retrieved 15 January 2008. 
  3. ^ "Past Players". Bath City FC. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Calderwood agrees Dons move". BBC Sport. 28 May 2004. Retrieved 6 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "Jimmy Nicholl is confirmed as Cowdenbeath manager". BBC Sport. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "Cameron in for Nicholl at Cowden". BBC News. 6 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "Kilmarnock confirm management duo". STV Sport. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Jimmy Nicholl leaves Kilmarnock to join Hibernian". BBC Sport. BBC. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  9. ^ "Assistant Manager Confirmed". www.hibernianfc.co.uk. Hibernian FC. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 15 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon exits Easter Road". BBC Sport. BBC. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Young, Chick; Spence, Jim (14 November 2013). "Inverness: John Hughes and Kenny Shiels in for manager's job". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 14 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Cowdenbeath: Jimmy Nicholl returns for second manager spell". BBC Sport. BBC. 30 November 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Cowdenbeath: Jimmy Nicholl resigns as boss after relegation". BBC Sport. BBC. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 5 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Raith Rovers manager Jimmy Nicholl". Fitbastats.com. Retrieved 1 April 2017. 

External links[edit]