Derek Adams

Derek Watt Adams (born 25 June 1975) is a Scottish football manager and former player who manages Bradford City. Adams played professionally for six clubs, including Ross County and Motherwell, where he made over 100 league appearances for both teams.

Derek Adams
Adams as manager of Bradford City in 2021
Personal information
Full name Derek Watt Adams[1]
Date of birth (1975-06-25) 25 June 1975 (age 46)
Place of birth Aberdeen, Scotland
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Position(s) Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Bradford City (manager)
Youth career
1991–1992 Aberdeen
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–1995 Aberdeen 0 (0)
1995–1996 Burnley 2 (0)
1996–1998 Ross County 72 (41)
1998–2004 Motherwell 159 (18)
1999–2000Ayr United (loan) 4 (0)
2004–2005 Aberdeen 20 (4)
2005–2006 Livingston 25 (0)
2006–2009 Ross County 36 (4)
Total 318 (67)
Teams managed
2007–2010 Ross County
2011–2014 Ross County
2015–2019 Plymouth Argyle
2019–2021 Morecambe
2021– Bradford City
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Adams became manager of Ross County in 2007, winning promotion from the Scottish Second Division in his first season, before reaching the Scottish Cup Final two years later. He joined Hibernian as assistant manager in 2010 before returning to Ross County the following year, where he won the Scottish First Division and was voted PFA Scotland Manager of the Year for the 2011–12 season. Having left Plymouth in April 2019,[2] he became manager of Morecambe in November.[3] He would guide the club to promotion to League One in 2021, before leaving to take over at Bradford.

Playing career

Adams started his professional career with Aberdeen, but failed to make a first-team appearance. He moved to English side Burnley, making a couple of league appearances in the mid-1990s before returning to Scotland with Ross County in 1996.

Adams was transferred to Motherwell in a deal worth £200,000 in 1998 and spent six years at Fir Park, including a short loan spell with Ayr United. Adams was one of a number of players affected by the club's administration problems, accepting a pay cut in April 2002.[4] Adams failed to win any trophies during his time with Well, although he scored in the 2002–03 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat against Rangers.[5] In 2004, Adams agreed a pre-contract move to his home town club Aberdeen,[6] spending a year at Pittodrie before being transfer-listed[7] and leaving for Livingston in 2005.[8]

Coaching career

Ross County (first spell)

In 2006, Adams returned to Ross County as player–coach.[9] In November 2007, Adams was promoted to the role of player–manager, having served as caretaker manager since October.[10] Despite the terms of Adams' appointment, his last playing appearance was in October 2007. He led Ross County to the Scottish Second Division championship in 2008, earning promotion to the First Division. At the age of 33, Adams became the holder of the UEFA Pro Licence, which is the highest coaching badge in the senior game. The next year, Adams led Ross County to the 2010 Scottish Cup Final, notching upset victories over SPL sides Hibernian and Celtic.[11] County lost 3–0 to Dundee United in the Final.[12]

Hibernian assistant

Adams left Ross County on 11 November 2010 to join Hibernian as assistant manager to Colin Calderwood.[13] Adams has had several disciplinary cases considered by the Scottish Football Association during his coaching career.[14] At one point he was due to be banned for a number of matches,[15] but he won an appeal against part of the suspension.[16] Adams was then suspended for further matches, a sanction which Hibs appealed against.[17] While this appeal was ongoing, Adams described the whole disciplinary process as distressing.[18]

Ross County (second spell)

Adams left Hibernian on 19 May 2011 to return to Ross County as manager.[19] In his first season back at County, Adams guided the club to the 2011–12 Scottish First Division championship and promotion to the Scottish Premier League.[20] County clinched the championship with five games to spare. They went on a remarkable 34 game unbeaten run and finished 24 points above 2nd placed Dundee.[20] Adams was elected PFA Scotland Manager of the Year for the 2011–12 season.[21]

Before the 2012-13 season, Adams made seven signings, all of which were free agents.[22] After three draw and one win, Adams was named SPL manager of the month for August.[23] The club's 40-match unbeaten league was ended by a 2–1 defeat to St Johnstone; Adams said he was very proud of achieving such a long run without defeat.[24] In November 2012, Adams appointed Neale Cooper, who had just left Hartlepool United, as his assistant manager.[25] Ross County struggled during the autumn of 2012, but Adams expected the club to avoid relegation.[26] In late-December the club began a winning streak, that eventually led to a top-six finish in 5th position and 1 point off a European position in their first season in the top flight. In the January 2013 transfer window, Adams offloaded nine players and made six new signings.[27] The winning streak continued, which resulted Adams receiving manager of the month awards for January[28] and February.[29] During the season, Adams was linked with positions at Dundee United[30] and Aberdeen.[31] Adams was nominated for PFA Scotland Manager of the Year,[32] but lost out to Allan Johnston.[33] At the end of the 2012-13 season, Adams signed a new contract with the club.[34]

Ross County finished 7th under Adams at the end of the 2013–14 Scottish Premiership season, the second season in a row finishing above Hibernian, Hearts, Kilmarnock, Partick Thistle and St Mirren. Following a 2-1 Scottish League Cup win over Stranraer, Adams left Ross County on 28 August 2014.[35]

Plymouth Argyle

Adams was appointed Plymouth Argyle manager on 11 June 2015.[2] In his first season in English football as a Manager he guided Plymouth Argyle FC to the League 2 Play Off Final at Wembley for the first time in 20 years, which they lost to AFC Wimbledon. In the following season, Adams guided them to a 2nd-place finish and promotion to League One.[36]

In the 201718 season, Plymouth just missed out on a promotion play-off place as they finished in 7th position in League One.[36] Following a poor second season in League One, which left Argyle fighting relegation, Adams was relieved of his duties on 28 April 2019.[36]


On 7 November 2019, Adams became manager of Morecambe, replacing the long-serving Jim Bentley, who left to take over at AFC Fylde earlier in the month.[3] He said, “I’m obviously delighted to be joining this football club.” Having been denied promotion on the final day by a single point, Morecambe had to settle for the play-offs.[37] They faced Tranmere Rovers in the semi-finals, winning 3–2 on aggregate, a 2–1 win away from home[38] and drawing 1–1 at home.[39] On 31 May 2021, Adams led Morecambe to promotion to the third tier for the first time in their club's history, a penalty from Carlos Mendes Gomes in extra-time securing a 1–0 victory over Newport County.[40] Three days after Morecambe's play-off victory, on 3 June 2021, Adams left the club to pursue other opportunities.[41]

Bradford City

On 4 June 2021, Adams was confirmed manager of Bradford City, signing a three-year deal.[42][43]

Managerial statistics

As of match played 31 May 2021[44]
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record
Ross County 4 October 2007 11 November 2010 154 70 41 43 045.5
Ross County 15 May 2011 28 August 2014 131 51 37 43 038.9
Plymouth Argyle 11 June 2015 28 April 2019 213 90 45 78 042.3
Morecambe 7 November 2019 3 June 2021 79 34 18 27 043.0
Bradford City 4 June 2021 Present 0 0 0 0 !
Total 577 245 141 191 042.5



Ross County


Ross County




  1. "Derek Adams". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  2. "Plymouth Argyle have appointed former Ross County boss Derek Adams as their new manager". Argyle Media. Plymouth Argyle FC. 11 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  3. "DEREK ADAMS NAMED AS NEW SHRIMPS MANAGER" - Morecambe F.C., 7 November 2019
  4. "Motherwell axe 19 players". BBC Sport. 29 April 2002. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  5. "Rangers beat brave Well". BBC Sport. 19 April 2003. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  6. "Dons land Well duo". BBC Sport. 12 May 2004. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  7. "Whelan to leave as Dons cull six". BBC Sport. 9 May 2005. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  8. "Livi beat Caley Thistle to Adams". BBC Sport. 29 July 2005. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  9. "Adams makes Ross County return". BBC Sport. 12 July 2006. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  10. "Adams confirmed as County manager". BBC Sport. 21 November 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  11. Gibson, Fraser (10 April 2010). "Celtic 0–2 Ross County". BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  12. McGuigan, Thomas (15 May 2010). "Dundee Utd 3 – 0 Ross County". BBC Sport. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  13. "Derek Adams exits Ross County to be Hibernian assistant". BBC Sport. 11 November 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
  14. "Ross County star Steven Craig stunned by 'gentleman' Derek Adams latest touchline ban". Daily Record. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  15. "Ross County boss Derek Adams' touchline ban stretched to an incredible 18 games". Daily Record. 9 November 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  16. "Relief for Hibs assistant Derek Adams as he wins battle against latest ban". Daily Record. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  17. "Hibernian to contest Derek Adams' dugout ban". BBC Sport. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  18. "Adams hits out at ban". Eurosport. 22 April 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
  19. "Derek Adams returns as Ross County manager". BBC Sport. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  20. "Ross County celebrate promotion to SPL". BBC Sport. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  21. [bare URL]
  22. "Ross County manager Derek Adams targets free agents". BBC Sport. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  23. "Ross County boss Derek Adams named manager of the month". BBC Sport. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  24. "Derek Adams hails Ross County display as run ends". BBC Sport. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  25. "Neale Cooper returns to Ross County as assistant manager". BBC Sport. 23 November 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  26. "Ross County manager Derek Adams confident of SPL survival". BBC Sport. 10 November 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  27. "Ross County manager Derek Adams wields the axe". Daily Record. 21 December 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  28. "Ross County manager Derek Adams wins January SPL award". BBC Sport. 7 February 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  29. "Ross County's Derek Adams wins February SPL award". BBC Sport. 7 March 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  30. "Dundee United: Mixu Paatelainen & Michael O'Neill on short-list". BBC Sport. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  31. "Ross County rebuff Aberdeen's approach for Derek Adams". BBC Sport. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  32. "Celtic's Neil Lennon on PFA Scotland manager of year list". BBC Sport. 20 April 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  33. "Allan Johnston wins Scotland's Manager of the Year award". BBC Sport. 5 May 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  34. "Ross County manager Derek Adams signs new contract". BBC Sport. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  35. "Ross County sack manager Derek Adams and his father George". BBC Sport. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  36. "Plymouth Argyle sack manager Derek Adams". BBC Sport. 28 April 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  37. "Morecambe 2–0 Bradford City: Shrimps win not enough for promotion". BBC Sport. 8 May 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  38. "Tranmere Rovers 1–2 Morecambe". BBC Sport. 20 May 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  39. "Morecambe 1–1 Tranmere Rovers". BBC Sport. 23 May 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  40. "League Two play-off final: Morecambe 1–0 Newport County". BBC Sport. 31 May 2021.
  41. "Derek Adams leaves Morecambe days after leading club to promotion". BBC Sport. 3 June 2021.
  43. "Bradford appoint Derek Adams as their new manager". The Independent. 4 June 2021.
  44. Derek Adams management career statistics at Soccerbase
  45. "Ross County 1-1 Clyde (aet)". BBC. 12 November 2006. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  46. "Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew named player of the year". BBC. BBC Sport. 6 May 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2021.