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My aunt managed Scotland – I’m making my own way as the youngest boss in Britain

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RHYS McCABE became the youngest manager in British senior football when he took charge of Airdrie at the age of 29 in May 2022.

The player-manager has already led the Diamonds to promotion, but he has a lot to live up to, having grown up with a very famous and successful aunt.

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Rhys McCabe still plays for Airdrie while managing themCredit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
He has enjoyed a successful career as a player

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He has enjoyed a successful career as a playerCredit: Willie Vass
His aunt led Scotland to a World Cup

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His aunt led Scotland to a World CupCredit: Willie Vass – The Sun

Former Rangers, Sheffield Wednesday and Dunfermline star McCabe, now 32, is the nephew of ex-Scotland Women‘s boss Shelley Kerr.

Kerr, 54, has enjoyed a successful career in football both as a player and manager.

She won three trophies with Hibs during her playing days and was capped 59 times by Scotland, while also starring for the likes of Kilmarnock, Hearts, Spartans and Doncaster Rovers Belles.

The defender stepped into the dugout for the first time as a player-coach – much like her nephew – at Kilmarnock in 2004 before taking the reigns at Hibs and Spartans before hanging up her boots too.

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She made her first move into the Scotland set-up in 2009 with the under-19s team, where she stayed for four years before heading down south to take over at Arsenal.

That’s where she led the Gunners to the FA Women’s Cup on two occasions and FA WSL Cup once before heading back up north in 2014.

She spent time at Stirling University before taking the Scotland head coach gig in 2017.

During her three-year spell as Tartan Army boss, she led the Scots to the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup but left her role after they failed to qualify for 2021 Euros.

Kerr was awarded an MBE in the 2019 Birthday Honours list for her services to football.

She hasn’t stepped back into management since leaving Scotland but she remains active in the game, currently working with the English FA as a technical lead for women’s national teams.

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The former defender also works as a pundit in Scottish football and was part of the coverage for Sunday’s Scottish Cup clash between Airdrie and Hearts.

She watched on and gave her takes at half-time and full-time as her nephew Rhys fell short against the Jambos and crashed out of the competition in the fifth round.

The match finished 4-1 as the player-boss started in the heart of defence and struggled to keep prolific Hearts hitman Lawrence Shankland quiet.

The Rangers-linked forward scored twice, while Kenneth Vargas and Calem Nieuwenhof also got on the score-sheet.

Adam Frizzell netted a consolation goal for the home side.

Speaking about his relationship with his aunt Kerr last year, McCabe revealed: “I have got a great relationship with her but it’s not a relationship where I pick up the phone every Saturday and ask ‘Shelley, what do you think?'”

“We live in the same area. She has tried to distance herself as well, I totally understand why. She has got her own pathway and is probably not wanting to overshadow the work that myself and Callum [Fordyce, assistant manager and McCabe’s cousin] are doing.

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“I have got huge admiration for her. It is great to meet for a coffee and discuss things. And she comes to a few of the games with my dad and uncle.”


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