Former Coldstream manager Kieran Ainslie joined the Hi Hi’s coaching team earlier this season. We recently caught up with Kieran to find out more about his background and hopes for the future.

Can you tell us a bit about your career in football to date?

“I started playing football at youth level with Berwick Rangers before progressing to the Berwick U17s, 19s and reserves. Berwick got promoted to what was League One so had to have a youth set up. I played in first team friendlies at a young age and had a loan spell at Coldstream when I was 15. I then went to Eyemouth United before moving to Coldstream and went on to represent the East of Scotland Select. I then got a trial at Berwick and went back there, playing for the club in League 2. After that I signed with Gala for four seasons in the Lowland League. I left when my legs went. I was still capable of playing but not at that level. I then took the Coldstream job. They were struggling a bit and I knew the area so it seemed like a good opportunity. I was player manager. I still played but less so latterly due to injuries. I spent just over four years there.

How did the move to Haddington Athletic come about?

“Scott (Bonar, Haddington manager) and I got speaking. He was quite impressed with how we set up when Coldstream played Haddington in the League Cup at Millfield last season. I had said it would be my final year at Coldstream and in the end we parted company. We were six points off promotion at the time. As soon as that happened I spoke to Scott again. We had been talking more frequently and built a relationship. It developed and he said: ‘why not come along and see if you enjoy it’.”

What are your early impressions of Haddington Athletic?

“It’s a brilliant club with a nice, friendly committee. We have a great group of lads on the playing side. The club has trust in youth. It is like a bigger version of Coldstream in some ways. There is a big focus on developing players. I like passing on my experience to the players while learning from Scott and Roy (Craig, technical coach) who are brilliant coaches with lots of experience. It’s a brilliant set up. There are lots of small details which are impressive like the approach to kit and towels being out for the players. We have a young squad but they are brilliant lads. I enjoy working with Scott, Roy and Graham (Marron) and the committee. We are all focused on heading in the right direction. The pitch is an appealing thing for a lot of the lads. I played in the friendly (between Coldstream and Haddington) in the summer and it was brilliant.”

What are your feelings about performances and results in recent months?

“I think we have had a lot of guys out of action – particularly midfield players. That has forced us to try players out of position. Robbie (Peffers) was out for a while and Seamus (Russell) has now returned. Having them back is a positive. Alex McNaughton is coming through and has gained some experience. Midfield is really important. Things have improved lately in terms of performance. Tynecastle away was better and the Luncarty cup game at home was good. They scrap for everything so we did well to beat them. Against Dunbar we deserved at least a draw. I’m optimistic we are heading on a forward trajectory. Mark (McGovern) being out injured has been a blow. Everyone gets anxious on a bad run and confidence might be affected when you’re in a rut – for example not playing out from the back. Results have improved in recent weeks and hopefully this, together with another couple of positive results in the weeks ahead, can get us back on track.”

Can we challenge towards the top of the table next season?

“We are maybe a few players short at present but challenging towards the top is realistic. If we manage to recruit some of the targets we have in mind and keep hold of players we have at present, then we can certainly challenge. Teams like Musselburgh will be up there again next season. The older the players get the more they learn and gain valuable experience – for example playing on bumpy or boggy pitches in January and February. That’s not easy and it’s something you need to learn about.

“Absolutely. I want to win a five a side training match so we need to have the goal of winning everything. Silverware would be a massive achievement for the club.”

What do you do for a living?

“I’m an electrical engineer to trade and worked at Viridor recycling plant as a team leader. I’m now at Eyemouth windfarm as a control room supervisor. It’s a new windfarm with 54 turbines to be installed.

What do you do in your spare time?

“I still do football training now and then. I’m training to do the Edinburgh Half Marathon for an Alzheimer charity. I’ve also got a dog and partner.