FORMER Saint James Beattie has piled the praise on Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Beattie, who is a first-team coach at Birmingham City, played for the St Mary’s side for seven years during 1998–2005.

This spell saw him score 76 goals in 235 appearances, with one of those games coming in the 2003 FA Cup final.

And after paying close attention to Hasenhuttl’s philosophy and chatting to current members of the squad, Beattie had only good things to say about his former team.

Speaking to the official Southampton FC website, the ex-striker said: “I’ve been impressed by the manager and his style of play.

“I came to watch the team against Chelsea, in one of Mark Hughes’s last games, and it’s probably the only time I can remember getting angry at a football match.

“I don’t get angry at football matches. I probably did as a player – not with my own teammates, but with the opposition – but I felt the players were playing the game passively.

“I was actually a guest and I went into the lounge, where Nicky (Banger) was trying to ask me questions and I was just saying ‘I can’t answer them’ because I was right on the edge. 

“I was not happy, because the club means a lot to me.

“The one thing I gave was a hundred per cent because I wasn’t the most technically gifted, but heart and desire are a given, so I can imagine how Mark felt.

“But now Ralph has come in and he’s been great. 

“He’s changed it all around, given it that freshness and when I speak to the boys they say the training is so intense – short and sharp but really tough. 

“That’s the way he wants them to play.”

As well as hailing Hasenhuttl, Beattie also paid tribute to the fun he had playing under former boss Gordon Strachan.

He added: “The FA Cup run that we had, particularly the semi-final (against Watford in 2003) and the whole week building up to that, was memorable.

“They’re good memories. Gordon Strachan’s time in charge was probably the best in my career, and I still speak to Gordon now on various issues.”