Belfast Live – BELFAST, The Glentoran head coach was part of Carlos Queiroz’s backroom team at last year’s World Cup finals.
Mick McDermott has revealed how he celebrated Iran’s 2018 World Cup victory over Morocco by running around a Russian restaurant before ending up on his knees.
The Glentoran head coach was assistant to Iran manager Carlos Queiroz at last summer’s finals.
Aziz Bouhaddouz scored a 95th-minute own goal to hand a dramatic victory to Queiroz’s side in their opening group game in St Petersburg.
It was Iran’s first win at a World Cup since a 2-1 success over the United States in 1998, but McDermott was watching the drama unfold 1200 miles away.
That’s because he was sent to Sochi to scout Spain’s game against Portugal – the two other teams in Iran’s group – later that evening.
“During the Morocco game I was getting messages from family and friends asking what it was like,” McDermott told this week’s That’s What I Call Football podcast .
“But I was in Sochi for the Spain vs Portugal game later that evening, that’s what I had to do.
“I watched the Morocco match on TV because it was the early game, and then it was Spain-Portugal later that night.
“I watched the game in a restaurant with a couple of Russian families, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it.
“We scored the winner in minute 90, and I did a lap of the restaurant waving my arms around! And these families were looking at me, like, ‘who is that?’.
“I ended up on my knees, celebrating like Jose Mourinho did that time on the pitch.”
McDermott also revealed the “intense” working ethos of Queiroz, who was previously Sir Alex Ferguson’s number two at Manchester United.
“I was assigned to scout the Spanish team. So for six months before the World Cup I had been watching Spain and building the analysis,” McDermott said.
“Your focus for the tournament is on the first game against Morocco. If you lose that game you are basically out.
“We didn’t mention Spain for months, but I was working in the background gathering information on them. So I was in Sochi to watch Spain v Portugal, and Carlos asked me to deliver my report by 11am the next day.
“I had my whole report for Spain’s last 15 matches, but I had to add the Portugal game.
“It was a late kick-off, 10pm in Sochi. I didn’t get back to the hotel until about 1am, because I got lost. The flight was at 3am and I had to be at the airport, type up my report and cut up all the video.
“I arrived at our base camp at 9am and walked in and Carlos was sitting alone, eating breakfast. He says, ‘where you come from?’. I said I was just back from Sochi, and he says ‘are you ready to deliver that report at 11am?’.
“That’s how he is. I did a two or three-hour presentation to the staff, and he then decides what to cut it down to, and then we present that to the team.
“That’s how intense it can be.”
McDermott added: “As an experience, it was the most intense 130-140 days ever. And I wish other coaches could experience it.
“I got home to Dubai after the World Cup and I just slept. I went to bed at about 7pm and didn’t wake up to lunchtime. And it happened the next day, and the next. For about a week.”
Despite the intense working relationship, McDermott admits Queiroz was the biggest influence on his career to date.
“Carlos was brilliant. I have worked with 15 or 16 managers now, and all are different. Some good, some bad. But they all have their own way,” the Glens head coach said.
“But Carlos is probably the biggest influence. I worked with him twice over an extended time in different roles, fitness coach and assistant coach. I was at two tournaments with him.
“When you see how he goes about his work, daily. He is about 65 now and he could outwork most 25-year-olds.
“I kept a record of our days in the build-up to the World Cup finals, and we were working 20-hour days. I would take a photo of my watch every night. Start work at 9am and get to bed at 4 or 5am.
“And that was how it was every day. No days off.”
McDermott added: “He was an intense man to work for, very demanding. But away from that environment he is a brilliant man, in a social aspect. Very charming, and a lovely man to be around
“So he has probably had the biggest influence on the ideas I have now. Not just the football stuff, but paying attention to details.
“The way he sums it up, everyone can see the big boulders but it’s the small pebbles that can trip you up.”