An update from First Team Coach,  Gary Small

The highs and lows of football is a statement that comes to mind following Kevin’s last update a couple of weeks ago. Immediately after that update we turned in an excellent performance against Clachnacuddin which saw us progress through to the 2nd round of The Scottish Cup. I felt we were the better side and comfortable for 70 minutes then their pressure in the last 20 resulted in a late equaliser. The boys showed great character to win the game in extra time and by the end of it we could have made the score line a bit more convincing in all honesty. It was a great day and it was amazing to see the reaction of the supporters and everyone connected to the club with the celebrations at the end, they backed us throughout and I know the boys really appreciated their support as we always do.

We now face another tough tie at home to Lowland League opposition University of Stirling who will present another big challenge for the boys, but one we are really looking forward to when the time comes.

It was back to league business the following week away to Preston,  and to be fair it would be easy to say the least said about that game the better and skirt over it given the result. However we have to take the good with the bad and give an honest assessment, we all know we didn’t do ourselves justice that day and Preston thoroughly deserved their win but what was hard to take for us was the manner of the defeat we simply didn’t turn up. It’s a stark reminder that if we don’t turn up against any team in this league we will find it very difficult, but that can be said for the other 14 teams in the league as well.

 It was our first defeat in the league and cup this season, the boys have been fantastic from minute one of pre-season and for me have enough credit in the bank to be afforded an off day. We were quite fortunate we had another game a few days later away to Camelon on Wednesday so we didn’t dwell on it too long, again another match that was difficult for different reasons. First and foremost the gaffer demanded a reaction from the Saturday and an improved performance and I think by and large he got that, albeit we didn’t quite hit the levels we have been prior to Preston. This resulted in us taking the lead before half time in what was a fairly even game and subsequently conceding an 89th minute equaliser to finish 1-1. 

We are honest enough to recognise it would have been fairly harsh on Camelon if they took nothing from the game so a draw was a fair result in the end. One thing I do want to call out from that game was our defensive side of the game, we were critical about the defending on Saturday and full credit to them I felt they defended well for most of the game against 2 of the best attacking players in the league. It’s not easy going through to places like that midweek, even from a logistics perspective players trying to get away from work early, arriving late due to traffic etc. In the end we will look at it as a decent point against a side that will be nowhere near the bottom end of the league come the end of the season in my opinion.

The management team and players are as disappointed as anyone else when we don’t perform and win games, that’s why we work so hard at training to win matches but equally we recognise that won’t always happen. We need to remember we are still a fairly new squad and we are learning a lot about players as they are learning about each other every week. 

One positive over the last 2 games is the return to action of summer signing Liam Gregory who missed the start of the season through injury. Liam is a great lad and will be another good attacking option so we are looking forward to getting him up to full speed which we recognise will still take a few weeks.

This is a very tough league with a lot of good teams and we have another great game to look forward to tomorrow against Luncarty. They have had a great start to the season and sit 2 points ahead of us after 7 games and like ourselves have only lost 1 game in the process. In terms of team news, we are still missing Evan and Johnny Edmond through injury and another couple due to holidays which may present an opportunity for one or two of the u20s who have all done excellent when called upon so far this season. The boys can’t wait to get back to New Countess Park and we hope the supporters will come along in numbers and back us as much as they have done all season.

On a personal note, I’m relatively new to the club as well coming in at the back end of last season and I want to take the opportunity to say a massive thank you to everyone who has made me feel so welcome, I really appreciate it.

All the best

Gary Small