Former Hibs star Kevin Nicol has his sights on a career in management after graduating from the University of Stirling.
The 39-year-old, once team mates with Scott Brown and Derek Riordan, is currently an assistant manager in Norway’s top tier.
However, he hopes to manage at the highest level of the European game by using the skills he gained at the uni.
Nicol balanced a distance-learning master’s while juggling his full-time role at Mjondalen IF, who play in the Eliteserien.
He believes his latest qualification has enhanced his coaching knowledge and skills, and that it will open more doors to new managerial opportunities in the future.
He said: “I have been coaching in Norway since 2015 but I still feel I have a lot to learn – and I heard good reports about the master’s course.
“It looked very attractive, but it was a huge challenge for me, as I left school at 16 and have never undertaken a bachelor’s degree.
“I think taking on an academic course is incredibly beneficial and complements the coaching badges. It certainly gave me a new perspective on coaching.
“I now want to kick on and become a manager at the highest level in Norway and, if possible, I would also love to coach at the highest level in Europe.”
Nicol, from Kirkcaldy, started his senior career with his hometown club Raith Rovers under manager Jimmy Nicholl at 17.
The defensive midfielder went on to spend three years in the Scottish Premier League with Hibs, during which he also turned out for Scottish international youth teams.
However, after Nicol broke his foot twice in one season, incoming Hibs boss Tony Mowbray organised for him to join Norwegian side Stromsgodset on loan in 2005.
He and his family enjoyed the Scandinavian lifestyle and – other than a fleeting return to Scotland in 2006 – they decided to settle in Norway.
During his time there, he has played for Haugesund, Mjondalen, Moss and Frigg, as well as Asker, a third-tier club he also managed between 2015 and 2019. Nicol has been assistant manager at Mjondalen IF since 2019.
He added: “Taking on this degree was a huge step, but it was one I was willing to take to better myself.
“I want to be the best coach possible and work at the very highest level.
“The MSc adds another string to my bow, and I’d highly recommend it to other football manager and coaches.”