IN THE DUGOUT | Dec 20th | KEEPERS. Canít live with them...

By IAIN KING, Head Coach, BSC Lowland League brought to you in association with Sport Careers

In the dynamics of coaching a football team I have always had problems with the boys between the sticks.

They generally can’t run properly, they ALWAYS think they are better outfield players than they are. They just think differently than REAL footballers.

My long-time goalkeeping guru Hugh O’Neill – who remains at our Scottish Sun Lowland League rivals East Kilbride FC – always points out his boys wear no.1 they don’t have to run around and they get to wear gloves when it’s cold.

Me? I couldn’t do it. Hellish job, one mistake and you’re a scapegoat, the job is mental torture.

Seriously, that’s why we brought Rangers and Scotland Andy Goram in as our goalkeeping coach this season.

I was lucky enough to be able to call in a favour and The Goalie has been great with Matt McGinley and Ian Stewart who battle it out every week right now for the jersey.

It’s an interesting situation this. If it were two right-back no-one would bat an eyelid but having two keepers of this quality means you live in fear of one leaving if he is not first choice.

I’d put on record now that for all the fun I poke at our goalies I’d be GUTTED if that were the case.

Matt and Ian typify the sort of players you want at your club. Dedicated, professional, great attitudes, tremendous trainers.

As a coaching team our job is to keep both of them keen and focused because if we have aspirations of being a top team over the next 18 months my opinion is that we need BOTH of them. Badly.

Last season during my stint at Kilby against today’s opponents Edinburgh City in the vast bowl of Meadowbank Stadium Ian turned in one of the best 90 minutes I have EVER seen from a keeper.

We won 1-0 thanks to a goal from current BSC striker Chris McDougall but we should have worn balaclavas instead of Under Armour. It was a ROBBERY.

I told City boss Gary Jardine as much at the final whistle and we shared a wry smile.

He said then he thought NEXT season would the real testing ground for his team and himself as a coach.

Well, they are passing those tests with flying colours. They have been superb and they storming their way towards the title at this point.

This is a huge test for us and I really pray the weather gives us a break and you are reading this in your match programme waiting for the boys to run out and not on the internet.

As ever we will agonise over the choice of keeper with two more telling examinations on the way on the road at Spartans and then East Kilbride FC over the festive period.

Whatever happens I hope you enjoy the game and your Christmas with your loved ones close.

Have a very BSC Christmas,

Best Iain King

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