Hamilton boss Brian Rice insists he can handle the pressure of a relegation fight – because they pale in comparison to the darkest moments he has had to live through during 40 years in football.
Rice was a horrified witness to the devastating carnage of the Hillsborough disaster during his playing days at Nottingham Forrest.
He was met with further tragedy in 2005 as a coach when Craig Gowans, one of the youngsters he was grooming at Falkirk, died following a freak training-ground accident.
But weighed against those traumas, Rice insists the current situation at Accies – where his side sit bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership table after 11 games without a win – is so insignificant it barely merits mentioning.
He said: “How do I deal with tough moments in this job? I’ve had kids dying on the training field. I was at the Hillsborough disaster. Those are tough moments.
“I draw on all the experiences I’ve had and try to come in every day with a smile on my face, ready to work, that’s how I deal with it.
“There is pressure on me every day. Pressure to put on good sessions, to pick the right team, to win games.
“But no one asked us to come into this industry. It was my decision and any pressure that comes, I need to deal with it.
“I think I deal with it OK. You get praise when you do well but when you don’t then you have to expect the flak and try to do better.
“I have to have the broad shoulders to take the heat off the boys. They go out to try their best and everything else boils down to me.
“I do take it personally. I take things home with me and live with it, but it doesn’t stop me wanting to do it and striving for better.”
The fragile existence all managers live under was highlighted again this week when Angelo Alessio was axed by Kilmarnock despite his side sitting fifth in the table.
Rice knows he could be the next boss facing the fans’ wrath, but you will not hear him complaining.
The Accies chief – whose side can climb off the bottom if they beat relegation rivals Hearts on Saturday – said: “Nothing surprises me in football but I don’t like to see anybody losing their job, particularly at this time of year.
“I think it’s very unfair on Angelo. They were doing OK results-wise. I don’t know anything about what’s happening on the inside at Kilmarnock at all.
“I’m just looking from the outside but that (pressure) comes from the media, comes from the players, it comes from supporters.
“This is the job we’re in. People call for your head, but do people call for the heads of folk working in factories or driving buses? No, but this is the industry we’re in and we’ve just got to accept it.”
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