LEE McCulloch, who was sacked by Kilmarnock last month after less than a year in charge at Rugby Park, last night admitted he may not make an immediate return to management.

McCulloch took over at the Ayrshire club back in February when Lee Clark left for English League One outfit Bury and succeeded in keeping them up in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

However, this season Kilmarnock have struggled and the former Motherwell, Rangers and Scotland player parted company with them after they failed to win any of their first eight league games.

Speaking for the first time about leaving Kilmarnock at a William Hill media event at Hampden yesterday, the 39-year-old revealed he will be shadowing some experienced managers in the coming weeks to learn how they work.

However, he predicted that he will return to the game as either a coach or an assistant in future.

“I am enjoying a bit of time out just now,” said McCulloch. “It is the first time since leaving school I have not been involved in football. I’ve been reflecting on the positives and the negatives and enjoying some stress free living.

“I have arranged a couple of club visits so I am going to try and learn a bit more. I’m still only 39 so I want to learn as much as I can from other managers. I don’t want to name them, but I’m going to mirror a few managers and see how they work.”

He continued: “I felt comfortable being a manager, but I don’t know if I would go back in at that level. I don’t know if I would go into coaching or be a number two and take my time to get back up.

“I’m still sort of reflecting on what happened. I went straight into being assistant manager after finishing playing, then I was interim manager and then full-time manager. It did happen pretty quickly over a two-year period. It was quite demanding, but I still enjoyed it as well.”

McCulloch revealed that helping youngsters come through the ranks at Rugby Park had been the most satisfying aspect of his eight month stint in the dugout at Kilmarnock

“Seeing the younger players flourish was the most satisfying. To see (Adam) Frizzell scoring the winner and getting into the Scotland squad, to see Jordan Jones getting called up by Northern Ireland, Greg Taylor getting into the under-21s.

“They are starting to hold down a first team place and get people talking about them. I take great pride in that.”

Meanwhile, McCulloch believes that Malky Mackay can stake a strong claim to replace Gordon Strachan as manager by leading Scotland to a win in the friendly against the Netherlands at Pittodrie tomorrow.

Mackay, the former Watford, Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic manager who was appointed SFA Performance Director last year, has taken over on an interim basis and has refused to rule himself out of the running for the post.

McCulloch, who played for Scotland under Walter Smith, Alex McLeish, George Burley and Craig Levein, reckons getting a result against Dick Advocaat’s men will do his cause no harm whatsoever.

“There are loads and loads of people in for the manager’s job and this is the perfect opportunity for Malky to show what he can do on Thursday night,” he said.

“Malky is a gentleman and a good manager obviously. It is the perfect chance for him to stamp his authority on the team and obviously the squad with the new call ups.

“It is a good chance for these new call-ups to come in and stake their claim to stay in the squad. The likes of Jason Cummings especially.

“If Leigh Griffiths is going to be injured he will be the perfect player to come in. But he needs to go and prove that. I’m sure he’ll have the belief in himself to do that because he has certainly got the ability to do that.”

“The Scotland manager’s job is that good a job, it is the pinnacle of your managerial career, so anybody would look at it if it was available and within grasp.”

Lee McCulloch was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is a proud sponsor of the Scotland national team.