Old mates ready for battle

Great mates Lawrie McKinna and Ian Ferguson enjoyed tremendous success during their four years together at Central Coast, but at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday the pair will become enemies for 90 minutes when the Mariners host North Queensland in a crunch Hyundai A-League match.

Great mates Lawrie McKinna and Ian Ferguson enjoyed tremendous success during their four years together at Central Coast, but at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday the pair will become enemies for 90 minutes when the Mariners host North Queensland in a crunch Hyundai A-League match.

Ferguson left the Mariners during last season to take up the head coaching role at the Fury.

The move ended what was a fruitful partnership between the pair, which stretched back to the National Soccer League when McKinna signed Ferguson as a player at Northern Spirit.

Ferguson is a legend in Scotland, having starred in many title wins for Rangers. He also played for Scotland.

"I'm a Rangers fan so I jumped at the chance to sign him at Spirit," McKinna said.

It was during their second year together at Spirit when McKinna offered Ferguson the chance to act as his assistant.

The pair were then instrumental in making sure the Mariners were an instant hit in the Hyundai A-League.

Together they helped guide the Mariners to two grand finals and reach the Asian Champions League.

"It will be strange on Sunday," McKinna said.

"We still keep in touch, we're good mates. But we won't be pals for 90 minutes, I'll give Fergie a hug before and after the game."

Ferguson is also looking forward to facing his former boss for the first time in the Hyundai A-League.

"I'm sure there'll be a bit of banter this week," Ferguson said.

"I enjoyed my time at the Mariners but it's just another game. He (McKinna) is someone I've known for seven years and he gave me my opportunity."