IN THE DUGOUT | March 6th | GAMES to define seasons
By IAIN KING, Head Coach, BSC Lowland League brought to you in association with Sport Careers
The tags that sit on two crucial matches for the BSC Glasgow top team and our 2001s squad this month.
On Saturday we travel to Vale of Leithen in the last eight of the SFA Challenge Cup as we bid to keep our dream of a Final in our rookie season alive.
And on Sunday March 29 Peter Vezza’s kids for fame go to Spartans’ home Ainslie Park to face Newcraighall in the Scottish Cup semi-final.
Two wins in these showdowns for those in the yellow and blue would be a magnificent lift as we get to the business end of the season.
Our build-up to Saturday’s crunch could not have been more fractured or frustrating.
Back on Valentine’s Day I loved the way we played in the 4-0 last 16 triumph over South of Scotland powerhouses Wigtown and Bladnoch at Lochburn Park.
After two great training sessions and a detailed study of our opponents, we carried out a game plan and they couldn’t live with Aiden Malone and Ciaran Johnston up top.
Aiden struck twice, Ciaran got his first for the club then Gary Graham roared off the bench to seal a perfect day for the strikers with his second BSC goal since he moved from Clyde.
I saw real signs that we are starting to click - then we were sent careering back into cold storage.
Now three shivering weeks later we will face a vital clash with only one rusty bounce match under our belts.
Yet we can conquer that, I know we can.
And we don’t have to look far for motivation as the first 45 minutes in Innerleithen was our worst since we took over the reins back in September.
Three down at the interval we rallied a little after the break but it was a hellish display on a day to forget.
Now we return to face Mark Lamb’s side grimly determined that won’t happen again.
With three clean sheets in the last four matches I feel we are a different animal now.
In defence Callum Home can count himself very unfortunate to have been benched in the win over Wigtown having sparkled in the 3-0 win at Spartans and the 0-0 draw at Preston that followed.
He shaded in the defeat at league leaders Edinburgh City alongside others in the back four and Aaron Murdoch stormed back from his ban to make a compelling case to keep his jersey at right-back.
Aaron, bred in the Hearts Academy, was our Player of the Year at East Kilbride and a key man in the side that lifted the SFA Challenge Cup in a 2-0 Final win over Dalbeattie Star.
Murdoch’s fierce will to win and Home’s professionalism in training are qualities that will ensure they remain at BSC next season.
You learn about players and how they treat setbacks, Aaron’s determination to atone for his red card at East Kilbride, Callum’s acceptance of a decision he will not have agreed with.
We are deep into our planning for next season now but our eyes remain on the prizes left this time around.
Victory over Vale means a semi-final at home to either EKFC or Edinburgh City, a tie to relish whoever wins that one at K Park.
Before that Friday night sees the SYFA Scotland 2001s Craig Young and I coach in action at Spartans in a development game.
BSC players Gio Vezza, Calum Hughes, Jack Muir and Mitch Donohoe will be in action for their country then and it’s a real pleasure watching these talents develop knowing they are part of our club’s future.
Wherever you take in your football this weekend, enjoy it and encourage the players.
Have a good one,