IN THE DUGOUT | FEBRUARY 14th | HOME AT LAST.
By IAIN KING, Head Coach, BSC Lowland League brought to you in association with Sport Careers
After SEVEN road trips on the bounce it is great to say that we play host to South of Scotland League big guns Wigtown and Bladnoch at Lochburn Park.
Those games away from Maryhill have taught myself, Craig Young, Ally Graham and Jamie Hamilton so much about the squad in this fledgling season in the Scottish Sun Lowland League.
Three wins, one draw, three defeats – one truly magnificent display, one wholly unacceptable.
That is the frustration of coaching. We have had the high of a superb show in the 3-0 win at champions Spartans, the numbing low of a desperate display when we lost 4-0 at my former club East Kilbride FC.
Now the last 16 of the SFA Challenge Cup beckons and we welcome Micky Dougan and his players to Lochburn for a tie that means so much to both clubs.
Last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at runaway League leaders Edinburgh City was a day of harsh lessons as we lost all three goals from well-worked short corner ploys.
In those circumstances as a coach you torture yourself about whether you could have done more and we worked through our defensive demons at Scotstoun on Monday night.
Over the 12 games and the four months we have had together with this group we have had a lot of positive talks and a great response from the players in the main.
I have discovered it’s not easy to inherit someone else’s squad, my predecessor John Brogan will have had his own vision of how the team would play, their core values, how they should train.
He assembled the players with that in mind, the nature of football is that our view differs and you try mid-season to reshape the project.
It’s a difficult process, at East Kilbride last season we had no wages, a team originally built for the South of Scotland League and we were given little chance.
We finished a creditable eighth in the league, made the League Cup semi-finals and had the crowning glory of lifting this Challenge Cup with a 2-0 Final win over Dalbeattie Star.
That was achieved for me on the foundations of fitness and organisation.
This BSC group has more natural ability than the Kilby squad we had and more gifted players but we don’t possess the energy and stamina or the togetherness and unity of purpose we had at K Park. Yet.
That’s our job as coaches now because there’s no question there are games when we too have fallen short so far.
The hurt comes when you see what we can produce on our good days. That thrilling triumph at Spartans was arguably the best display Craig and I have overseen in the near 50 Lowland games we’ve taken charge of now.
My vow is that by next season we will have constructed a team capable of producing that level of performance more often than not – of truly challenging at the sharp end of the table.
The future of the club was on show last Saturday morning as Peter Vezza’s 2001s squad dismantled Barrhead YFC 5-0 in the Scottish Cup quarter-final.
I’d like to use this platform to pay tribute to the coaches and players in that group, they are piecing together a very special season and memories they will cherish forever.
Craig and I have four of those players in the SYFA Scotland Under-14 squad we coach and Gio Vezza, Calum Hughes, Jack Muir and Mitch Donohoe have done the club proud.
We have a chance in this one to put ourselves just two games away from the club’s first major Final.
I know from experience that it CAN be done in your rookie season, so let’s believe in ourselves and try to make some history.
Enjoy the game,