IN THE DUGOUT | January 15th | WHEN you are given a loan in life it should be repaid...
By IAIN KING, Head Coach, BSC Lowland League brought to you in association with Sport Careers
WHEN you are given a loan in life it should be repaid in full – Aidan Ferris did that at BSC Glasgow.
And whatever happens next in the 18-year-old Morton forward’s career I’m certain he’ll acknowledge he owes a debt to our strikers’ coach Ally Graham.
There is always a debate over the value of taking in loan players at a developing club like ours where you must balance it against the nurturing of our own talent.
Next season we plan to have an Under-20 side operating in the Lowland League and that will feed our top team with gifted prospects.
Until then deals like the three months Fez spent with us at BSC work perfectly in my eyes.
Development games in the professional ranks are all well and good but they can’t replicate what Aiden experienced from the moment he scored twice on his debut in a 4-4 thriller with Dalbeattie Star at Lochburn Park.
Part of management in any business – football or newspapers in my case – is learning to delegate to people you trust.
Ally Graham, with 700 professional games under his belt, has been part of our coaching team since we moved into the Lowland ranks at East Kilbride FC.
Like the goalkeeping sessions with Rangers and Scotland legend Andy Goram at BSC I believe his input is vital.
Ally’s experience in the months he has had with Fez had a telling impact as Aidan scored five goals in eight games.
In recent weeks we’d toyed with 4-2-3-1 which worked brilliantly despite a 2-1 defeat at Spartans then flopped brutally in that nightmarish 4-0 defeat at East Kilbride.
The wisdom and merits of switching Ferris to wide right of the three behind the striker in those two games is something as a coach that I must examine.
I’ll learn from it, he goes back to Morton an improved player for his experience in the Scottish Sun Lowland League in my opinion.
We had hoped to keep Aidan for the season but Jim Duffy’s own loan star – 20-year-old Declan McManus from Aberdeen – has been magnificent in Greenock and scored 12 goals this season for the side who sit second now in League One.
He was recalled by Derek McInnes and a chain of events began that saw Fez on the bench for the ‘Ton in Saturday’s crucial 3-2 win at Stenhousemuir.
It was great that as part of his work as a Scottish Sun matchday reporter big Ally was there on Saturday to see Aidan make his second appearance for the top team when he climbed off the bench for the last 10 minutes.
That’s why people like big Ally stay in the game, for every rain-soaked night at training there is a reward like that. It’s why you coach.
Last season we had four season-long loan players from Clyde in the EKFC side that went on to lift the SFA Challenge Cup.
Ged Traynor is now starting left-back for the Bully Wee, Kieran Daw moved to top junior side Petershill and striker Gary Graham and centre-half Stephen Bronksy are here with us again now at BSC.
All those players prospered for me in their loan spells, I felt Daw fell through the cracks because of a change of management at Clyde after a superb season at Kilby. He remains a class act.
Graham and Bronsky still have time to make it through the ranks to the pros. My first dream is they do it in the blue and yellow, if they don’t they have become better from playing first-team football in the Lowland League.
It intrigued me at the weekend to see Celtic no.2 John Collins describe himself and Ronny Deila as “development coaches.”
I’m not sure whether you can get away with that with the pressure they are under for results.
Equally, I am certain that is what myself, Craig Young, Ally Graham, Jamie Hamilton and Andy Goram MUST be at our level.
The recent defeats on the road at Spartans and EKFC have hurt but the big picture for us will be about consolidating our place at the table this time and learning lessons.
I hope when Fez looks back on his career years from now he remembers his spell at BSC enough to say: “Yep, I learned something there.”
After braving two training nights in wretched conditions our focus now turns to Spartans away on Saturday.
Our performance there in the Scottish Sun Plus Lowland League Cup on December 27 should have brought more than a 2-1 defeat – if we reproduce that 90 minutes we won’t be far away.
Enjoy your weekend,