Belfast Telegraph

Black pays tribute to Ferguson influence

Eric Black first met Sir Alex Ferguson as a 14-year-old at Aberdeen, and 34 years later he is hoping to finally come out on top in a clash with his former boss.

Rovers joined Manchester City as the only team to beat United at Old Trafford in the league in the last two seasons when they pulled off a shock 3-2 win on New Year's Eve, three weeks before Black joined the club, and he is hoping they can make it a double in Monday's reverse fixture.

The Scot said of Ferguson: "I've met him a few times but I've never been in a position to say, 'Well done' and we've taken the three points. I would like to experience that but he's striving yet again to win the Premier League and I can guarantee he'll be as focused as he was the first time he walked into Old Trafford because that's what he does."

Black spent almost a decade at Aberdeen, and he had no doubts then that Ferguson would go on to great things.

"He was authoritarian, dictatorial and exceptional," said the 48-year-old. "What he achieved with a provincial club like Aberdeen was nothing short of breathtaking.

"What he's done post-Aberdeen is probably the greatest achievement of any manager but when you look at Aberdeen in relation to it, it's pretty exceptional too.

"It's no real surprise to me what he's achieved, and I now know having gone into coaching just how much of an influence he's been on me as an individual.

"I think people can show certain standards for a couple of days, some can do it for a few months but there's not many that can do it day in, day out for 40 or 50 years.

"He's got an insatiable appetite to succeed, to set standards, to ensure that others set standards. It must be tiring at times but whatever he has that's driven within him ensures that he does it."

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