IN THE DUGOUT :: July 16th :: A TIME to hope, to dream...
By IAIN KING, Head Coach, BSC Lowland League brought to you in association with Sport Careers
A TIME to hope, to dream, to fear even sometimes.
Pre-season at any football club is a period of change and turmoil when the coach has to exude an outward air of calm.
Inside, I promise you, he will be a mess.
There will have been sleepless nights and heartache over the players you decided to allow to leave.
Will they come back and haunt you?
There are coaches I know in the professional game whose single-mindedness and clarity of vision in this respect I admire hugely.
Our whole philosophy in the two seasons we have worked in the Lowland League has been to attempt to get players to buy into us as people and embrace the way we want to work.
With that comes an emotional investment in the player and therefore a price when you assess the squad come season’s end.
Two campaigns with two different clubs and two SFA Challenge Cup triumphs suggests we are doing something right.
Yet if you preach honesty to players you must also tell the truth to yourself.
We have not yet constructed a team to challenge at the top end of the table.
That is our next quest and for BSC Glasgow to do that we felt we had to strengthen.
Some decisions are forced upon you, the loss of 19-goal Aiden Malone to Cumnock Juniors was a bodyblow but there are simple realities in the life of an emerging club.
Aiden’s football is a huge part of his life, he works as hard at his game as he does at his job to make sure his partner and his son have all they need.
His efforts in a BSC shirt won him the offers he had from ‘Nock and other clubs and we couldn’t compete with them financially. That hurts but you have to accept it and hope that one day you work together again.
With Jamie Brophy, our Cup-winning skipper, at 29 I felt he should be playing every week and the emergence of Callum Home meant he would struggle to do that.
Honesty then becomes paramount in my eyes, respect the player, tell the truth. Jamie appreciated that and I hope we parted the way we should, he will always be welcomed back at BSC with open arms.
Tony Wallace, Kris Gebbie and Gary Graham also moved on to other challenges and as we look ahead to Saturday’s fourth pre-season friendly against Albion Rovers at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium this is a wholly different BSC side from the one that lifted the Challenge Cup against Civil Service Strollers in May.
Aranult Bembo in the heart of defence, Drew Ramsay at left-back, new skipper Davie Gray in midfield for his debut against Rovers, Aaron Connolly and Aidan Ferris up front.
The resolute performance and superb 3-1 win over League Two Queen’s Park at Lesser Hamden last Saturday suggests the early signs are good.
So, for now, all we carry into the weekend is excitement and anticipation. It feels like we could be standing on the brink of a good season.
After scrambling to even put a side together from local amateurs at EKFC in Season One to inheriting someone else’s squad three months into Season Two our coaching journey has not been a simple one.
Having a full pre-season, with all its niggles and worries, has been a luxury.
This is OUR team, they are doing our fitness work, working on three sessions a week to be ready for the League opener away to East Kilbride on Saturday August 1.
Between then and now we will live with the hopes, the dreams and the fears - and love every second of it.
Enjoy your weekend,