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Gordon Dalziel (October 1995 – 18/11/2002)

In July 1995, Gordon Dalziel came to Ayr United from Raith Rovers as a striker, having previously played for Rangers, Manchester City, Partick Thistle, Eastn_man_gordon_dalziel1t Stirling and Raith Rovers.

Gordon Dalziel was appointed player-manager of Ayr United in 1995 with Ayr still in the Second Division and finished sixth in his first season in charge. The following season was much more successful with Ayr United winning the Second Division title on the last day at Berwick Rangers and by winning the Ayrshire Cup three days later with a 2-0 victory of Kilmarnock at Somerset Park, meaning Ayr would complete not just a double of trophies but also a double over rivals Kilmarnock, having dispatched them from the League Cup in the second round early on in the season. The following season saw Dalziel’s side defeat Kilmarnock once more on Valentine’s Day in the Scottish Cup fourth round (with Kilmarnock being the holders of the trophy at the time) and consolidated Ayr’s place in the First Division with a seventh place finish secured by a famous last day win over Partick Thistle that relegated his former club.

The following season was far more successful in league competition for Dalziel, with him guiding the club to a third place finish in the First Division (in the days before the play-offs) and saw Ayr defeat Kilmarnock in the Scottish Cup for a second consecutive season, this time 3-0 as well as appearing in a League Cup quarter-final only to be defeated by Rangers at home. The Millennium season saw Dalziel lead Ayr to only their second Scottish Cup semi-final, dispatching Dundee, Motherwell and Partick Thistle on the way but this achievement was overshadowed by a comprehensive 7-0 defeat to Rangers at Hampden Park and despite their cup exploits, the club only managed a seventh place finish. The next season was a complete contrast, with Ayr not managing a single cup victory and finishing second place in the league.

The 2001-02 season is widely regarded as one of the most successful season in the clubs history and saw Dalziel lead them to the League Cup final for the first team after defeating Stranraer, Kilmarnock, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Hibernian on the way before succumbing to Rangers at Hampden Park once again, this time only losing 4-0 Within the week, Ayr returned to Hampden to face Celtic in only the clubs third semi-final of the Scottish Cup and the second time in two seasons with Dalziel, following victories over Deveronvale, Dunfermline Athletic and Dundee United, this time Ayr lost 3-0.

Ayr performed well in the First Division despite their cup exploits finishing third, behind champions, Partick Thistle and Airdrieonians, who would later fold at the end of the season after their last ever match abandoned after Ayr went ahead early on. Financial constraints meant that a number of the Cup Final team were asked to leave Somerset Park and consequently the club had a bad start to the 2002/03 season. This dismal start to the season fueled expectations that Gordon Dalziel would be replaced as manager despite his previous season’s success and the financial constraints under which he operated. In November 2002 Gordon himself asked the United Chairman to reconsider the roles within the club and the result was that assistant manager Cambpell Money became Ayr United manager with Gordon remaining to support him, at least until the end of the season. Despite this success, Dalziel’s contract was not renewed when it came up for renewal in November 2002.

He remains the club’s second longest serving manager of all time and his achievements will secure Gordon’s place in as Ayr United’s most successful manager to date.

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