IN THE DUGOUT | Latest Column | November 22nd, 2014 | HOW can something so beautiful be so cruel?
By IAIN KING, Head Coach, BSC Glasgow Lowland League brought to you in association with Sport Careers www.sportcareers.co.uk
HOW can something so beautiful be so cruel?
Just when football is treating you to a slap-up meal at a five-star restaurant it boots you outside into the freezing cold and leaves you with your nose pressed up against the window.
Those images flashed through my mind as I drove home from our 4-1 bounce match win over French side Edusport Academy at Pirie Park on Monday night.
An excellent performance from a developing squad had been marred by a serious injury for our new signing and key midfielder Ross McKinnon.
I’ve got to admit as he lay screaming on the Astroturf clutching at his right knee I feared the worst.
I thought he’d done his cruciate ligament, season over, career threatened.
It all goes through your head and my heart was breaking for him.
After his release from Clyde former Motherwell prospect Ross is in football rehab with us, I’ve known him since he was a kid and he has a God-given talent for this game.
His uncle Rab – capped three times by Scotland - was a team-mate and pal of mine throughout our childhood years at the academy of life that was East Kilbride Youth Club.
His granddad Robert was my coach through my teenage years and remains a friend and mentor to this day.
His dad Steven played alongside Craig Young and I in various sides and we’ve shared rounds of golf, pints and laughs through the years.
So the 22-year-old boy lying on the turf has history with us and you rail against the football fates when something like this happens now of all times.
He’d scored twice in the game, he was enjoying himself, he had a kind of childish satisfaction at wearing no10 and being told he was skipper for the night.
Then BANG! In a split second, a mistimed accidental tackle and a bad landing and it is all taken away from him.
It’s at times like that you appreciate the structure of this football club, the fact that we have a superb physio in Katrina Dunn on hand at every training session and game.
She made sure the care was spot-on until the ambulance came and the feeling of relief the next morning when we were told the X-ray showed medial ligament damage and not the ACL was huge.
We’ll miss Ross for the rest of 2014 but we’re confident come the early New Year that he will be back in a BSC jersey.
The compassion and class shown by Edusport coach Andy Thomson spoke volumes for him as a person and former Motherwell defender Chris Ewing’s Academy as a business.
This is the second season I have arranged to face the French players here to gain an education in football and English and I feel it is beneficial on both sides.
Our players experienced a different, more technical style of rival, theirs had to learn to cope with the intensity as growing fitness improved our pressing game.
Yet it’s an injury, we get our team-mate the best of care and we move on to Saturday and the adventure of our SFA Challenge Cup tie now switched to the picturesque village of Abbey Vale.
It would be too simplistic to say: ‘Win it for Rosco.’ He’s not long here, he’s settling in, the bonds are still being forged.
Yet there will be an element of that in the team-talk because I want these players to care for each other and form friendships that carry beyond this season.
Forget the dinosaurs and the tough love advocates THAT is how you build a modern-day team in my eyes. Respect, dignity, humility and a desire to work hard and learn.
If players don’t have those qualities as their core values then they are at the wrong club.
All I know is that we were all a little richer for the experience in midweek until The Beautiful Game reminded us it can be helluva ugly sometimes.