Peter Houston

Peter Houston (born 19 July 1958) is a Scottish football player and manager who is currently assistant manager of the Scotland under-21 side.

Peter Houston
Houston in 2011
Personal information
Full name Peter Houston[1]
Date of birth (1958-07-19) 19 July 1958 (age 62)
Place of birth Baillieston, Scotland
Position(s) Striker
Club information
Current team
Scotland U21 (assistant)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1977–1978 Airdrieonians 1 (0)
1978–1979 Livingston United
1979–1983 Albion Rovers 123 (33)
1983–1986 Falkirk 135 (33)
1986–1988 Dumbarton 80 (8)
1988–1991 Falkirk 77 (5)
1991–1993 East Stirlingshire 47 (3)
Total 463 (82)
Teams managed
2009–2013 Dundee United
2014–2017 Falkirk
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Houston played as a striker for Airdrieonians, Livingston United, Albion Rovers, Falkirk, Dumbarton and East Stirlingshire.

After retiring as a player, Houston initially worked for Jim Jefferies at Falkirk and Hearts. He then assisted Craig Levein at Hearts, Leicester City and Dundee United. After Levein was appointed Scotland manager in December 2009, Houston was appointed Dundee United manager and assisted Levein with the national team. He guided United to their 2009–10 Scottish Cup victory, but left the club by mutual consent in January 2013. After working for Celtic as a scout, Houston was appointed manager of Falkirk in June 2014. He guided Falkirk to the promotion playoffs twice and the 2015 Scottish Cup Final, but was unable to win promotion.

Early life

Peter Houston was born on 19 July 1958 in Baillieston, Lanarkshire.

Playing career

Houston began his career in 1977 with Airdrieonians but made just one senior league appearance and dropped into junior football with Livingston United. In 1979, Houston moved back into senior football with Albion Rovers and played over 100 league matches over four years, scoring 33 times. A similar length of spell at Falkirk also yielded 33 goals and upon leaving in 1986 to join Dumbarton, Houston had made over 250 senior league appearances. After two years with Dumbarton, Houston returned to Falkirk for a further three years before a final playing spell with East Stirlingshire.

Management career

Early coaching roles

Upon retiring in 1993, Houston returned to Falkirk for his third spell with the club, although this time in a coaching capacity. Houston was involved in setting up Falkirk's youth academy and went on to work as an SFA Development Officer at Brockville. When manager Jim Jefferies moved to Hearts in 1995, Houston joined him as reserve and youth team manager, becoming caretaker manager when Jefferies left for Bradford City in 2000.[2] Despite being backed by the players for the manager role,[3] Houston had to settle for an assistant manager role when Craig Levein was appointed instead.[4] Houston followed Levein to Leicester City in 2004, where he stayed until Levein and his backroom staff were sacked in January 2006.[5]

Houston lead a young Hearts team that included future Scotland caps Scott Severin and Robbie Neilson to the Scottish Youth Cup in 1998.[6][7]

Dundee United

Houston winning the Scottish Cup with Dundee United.

Houston was out of football until his appointment as assistant manager to Levein at Dundee United in October 2006. During the summer of 2007, he suffered a bizarre injury by falling off his bike over the handlebars and breaking both wrists. Levein left the club in December 2009 to become manager of the Scottish national team, with Houston taking over as caretaker manager. Despite initially being considered favourite to take over on a permanent basis, Houston announced he would not be applying for the job following a 7–1 defeat against Rangers under his tenure. In the wake of that result, the club tried to appoint then Bohemians manager Pat Fenlon as Levein's successor, but the deal to bring Fenlon to Tannadice broke down after the clubs were unable to agree compensation. After an improved run of form under his management, Houston was appointed United's manager until the end of the 2009–10 season.[8] Houston will also assist Levein with his Scotland duties on a part-time basis.[9] He guided Dundee United to 3rd place in the SPL and the final of the Scottish Cup, where they defeated Ross County 3–0 at Hampden Park on 15 May 2010 to seal their first major trophy for 16 years.[10] On 25 May 2010, Houston accepted a three-year deal to become manager of Dundee United. "I'm absolutely privileged and honoured to be the manager of Dundee United. For me, the hard works starts now," he told BBC Scotland.[11]

In his first full season as manager United in 4th place in the SPL, thereby qualifying for Europe again and reached the quarter final of the Scottish Cup. In the summer of 2011 several key players left the club or were sold including David Goodwillie, Craig Conway and Morgaro Gomis. United's start to the 2011–2012 season was patchy. United won only two of their first 12 league matches and a League Cup defeat by First Division side Falkirk led to reports that a loss in the Terrors' next league game away to Dunfermline would result in Houston being sacked.[12][13] After a convincing 4–1 win the United board backed Houston, but former manager Craig Levein criticised the board for not publicly supporting Houston earlier.[14] Eventually, United's form improved and the club again finished in fourth place, once again qualifying for the Europa League, an achievement which pleased Houston who expressed pride in his players' performance.[15]

Dundee United and Houston started contract negotiations during the 2012–13 season, but United chairman Stephen Thompson insisted that Houston would have to accept a cut in salary.[16] On 14 January 2013, Dundee United granted Football League Championship club Blackpool permission to speak to Houston about their vacant managerial position.[17] On 17 January 2013, Houston announced he would leave United at the end of the season after rejected a new contract.[18] Houston left the club by mutual consent on 28 January 2013, bringing forward his date of departure.[19] United chairman Stephen Thompson commented that football fans in the United Kingdom were not accustomed to managers pre-announcing their departure.[19]


After leaving Dundee United, Houston joined Celtic as a scout in December 2013.[20] Houston later says his time at Celtic was a positive one for him because they "were fantastic to work for".[21]

After eight months at the club, Houston was appointed manager of Falkirk in June 2014, succeeding Gary Holt.[22] He led the "Bairns" to the 2015 Scottish Cup Final, which Falkirk lost 2–1 to Inverness Caledonian Thistle.[23] Falkirk finished second in the Championship in each of the following two seasons, but lost out in the promotion playoffs.[23] After a slow start to the 2017–18 season, Houston was sacked by Falkirk on 24 September.[23]

Scotland U21 and Morton assistant

Houston joined the Scotland U21 side as assistant manager to Scot Gemmill in March 2018.[24] In September of that year, he was also appointed as Jonatan Johansson's assistant at Greenock Morton; continuing in both roles.[25] Houston left Morton at the end of the 2018–19 season, as the club decided not to exercise the option of retaining him for the second year of his contract.[26]

Honours and Achievements




Dundee United


Managerial statistics

As of match played 23 September 2017
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Dundee United 23 December 2009 28 January 2013 150 63 44 43 042.00
Falkirk 12 June 2014 24 September 2017 152 71 41 40 046.71
Total 302 134 85 83 044.37


  1. A Record of Post-war Scottish League Players 1946/47 to 2017/18. 7. John Litster and Scottish Football Historian magazine. 2018.
  2. "No jeers from Jefferies". BBC Sport website. 9 November 2000.
  3. "Pressley backs Houston for post". BBC Sport website. 26 November 2000.
  4. "Houston interviewed by Hearts". BBC Sport website. 30 November 2000.
  5. "Levein and Leicester part company". BBC Sport website. 25 January 2006.
  6. "How Hartley came on leaps and bounds Midfielder thanks Stark for finding his ideal position". Herald Scotland. 12 May 2006. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  7. "Injury forces Scott Severin to end his playing days at 33". The Scotsman. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  8. Duthie, Tom (28 January 2010). "Houston appointed United boss". Dundee Evening Telegraph. Archived from the original on 1 February 2010. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  9. "Houston tips defender Webster for Scotland recall". BBC Sport. 16 February 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  10. "Dundee Utd 3–0 Ross County". BBC Sport. 15 May 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  11. "Dundee United appoint Peter Houston as new manager". BBC Sport. 25 May 2010. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  12. Ian Roache (28 October 2011). "'I don't fear the sack' — defiant Peter Houston challenges Dundee United chairman to show support". The Courier. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  13. McArthur, Euan (28 October 2011). "Peter Houston: I don't fear Dundee United sacking". The Daily Record. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  14. Roache, Ian (31 October 2011). "'They should have acted sooner' — Craig Levein says Dundee United too slow to back Peter Houston". The Courier. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  15. Roache, Ian (14 May 2012). "Motherwell 0 Dundee United 2: Fitting end to a fine season for Tangerines". The Courier.
  16. Spence, Jim (14 January 2013). "Dundee Utd: Peter Houston can stay on reduced terms says chairman". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  17. "Blackpool: Dundee United allow Peter Houston for talks". BBC Sport. 14 January 2013.
  18. "Dundee United manager Peter Houston to leave Tannadice". BBC Sport. 17 January 2013.
  19. "Dundee Utd boss Peter Houston brings forward Tannadice exit". BBC Sport. BBC. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  20. "Scottish Premiership: Peter Houston has joined Celtic's scouting team". Sky Sports. 9 December 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  21. "Peter Houston: As Celtic scout I scoured 14 countries in 8 months to find talent for Ronny's Euro campaign". Daily Record. 15 June 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  22. McLauchlin, Brian (11 June 2014). "Peter Houston becomes Falkirk manager after leaving Celtic role". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  23. "Falkirk: Peter Houston exits as manager after poor start to season". BBC Sport. BBC. 24 September 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  24. Stewart Fisher (13 March 2018). "Scot Gemmill: I was flattered about top team link ... but I am happy to have Under-21 job". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  25. Jonathan Mitchell (21 September 2018). "Peter Houston appointed assistant manager". Greenock Morton F.C. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  26. Crawford, Kenny (4 May 2019). "Morton manager Jonatan Johansson leaves Greenock club". BBC Sport. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  27. "Johnny Russell completes Dundee Utd awards treble". BBC Sport. 3 April 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  28. Dundee United take manager and young player March awards BBC Sport 5 April 2012