IT was a friendship formed over 20 years ago as they made their fledgling steps as professional footballers together, and Partick Thistle will be hoping that the old double act of Gary Caldwell and Brian Kerr can be a marriage made in management heaven.

Caldwell and Kerr first met as youngsters playing for their country, but they were soon roommates at club level as they moved away from home to chase their dreams at Newcastle United.

That’s why Caldwell had no hesitation in approaching his old friend to come on board at Firhill as he tries to get Thistle back to the Premiership, and Kerr believes that their bond will help them to succeed in their shared mission.

“I have known Gary since we were in the Scotland team at 14 and we started living together when we were 15 at Newcastle,” Kerr said.

“We lived together for seven years so it is like an old marriage being put back together again.

“It was tough being away from home so early, but that helped our friendship grow so quickly. We got through a lot together and when our career went in opposite directions we kept in touch and spoke most days.

“He stayed down south, and I came back up the road, but after all that time to come back together is great.

“I think it is vital coaching teams are tight together and they have to trust each other 100 per cent. That friendship and relationship we have can help us.

“If the players see that tightness, then hopefully we can bring them into it too.”

Kerr comes into the role as a number two from managing East Kilbride. He has also previously been his own man at Albion Rovers, but he has no fears about his own ambitions being held back by stepping into the background, relishing the chance to get back to a higher level once more.

“It was too good an opportunity to turn down to come here,” he said.

“East Kilbride was a great club that was going places but to come here, a very big club, with infrastructure in place is a brilliant opportunity.

“The only downside is where we are in the league at the moment, so if we can put that right then we can go places.

“The club has been in high places before and it is in the midst of a mini blip right now. We need to go and fix that on the park and if we can then I think we can push forward as a club.

“We want to go as high as we can, and we are both ambitious guys. We have had ups and downs in our short coaching careers, but we want to get to the highest level possible.

“Firstly, we have to try and get the club back to the Premiership and that is the first step we want to achieve.”

Kerr’s apprenticeship in coaching down the leagues has given him many valuable lessons, and none more so than the ones he took from taking part in an infamous mini-documentary that gave a glimpse behind the scenes of the Cliftonhill dressing room on a fraught match-day.

“I learned a lot from it - probably not to do it again,” he said. “It came out at a time when Albion Rovers were looking for more exposure and to try and show what can happen inside a dressing room.

“It isn’t always pretty or plain sailing. The boys are all adults who are making mistakes and you have to try and fix them.

“It was a learning curve, but I do I regret it? No. There has been good and bad from it, but I don’t mind.”