Originally featured in our Double-Issue programme for Whitehill Welfare and Cumbernauld Colts, here’s vice-captain and centre back Ross Smith who sat down with our reporter Martin Fleming to chat about his experience at BSC so far, his favourite pitches, and a stuttering start to the season.
20th September 2018
Martin Fleming: How has your time at BSC been so far?
Ross Smith: It’s been great so far, yeah, really good. I played with a few of the players before in other and stuff so it was quite easy to come in. I know sometimes you come into a new team and you don’t really know anyone and it can be quite intimidating but it was easy to come in to this team. All the boys are welcoming and obviously the gaffer as well. That side of it is all good.
MF: How do you feel about your season so far? Last season was one of the highest finishes for BSC and not to say this has been an underwhelming start but there’ve obviously been a few results and that Swifty and the squad were disappointed in, so what’s your thought on the season so far?
RS: I get what you’re saying and I think, for me and a lot of boys will agree it wasn’t the best of starts and I think we maybe haven’t performed for a full 90 minutes apart from maybe Edusport in the South Challenge Cup there, but I think our games before were ones where it should’ve maybe been three points for us and we’ve ended up drawing. I think it was just the way it was going for us, especially with me, I made a couple of mistakes and it runs in your head a wee bit and you’re just trying to grab on for that win but I think a lot of know there’s a few games that should’ve been three points and we’ve went away with one. Although I think the last three or four games, we’ve gelled a lot more and showed a lot of character and got a lot of wins under our belts and hopefully we can just kick on from here. As you said before, Richie and the gaffer have said we started brilliant and had a wee dip so hopefully it could be the other way about this season and we could go on a run now.
MF: Following on from that, you’ve obviously came in at a point with a lot of new signings. How do you feel the squad has meshed together?
RS: Yeah, I think there’s a good few signings in and it’s all boys with good ability and I think when you see games where we click, it’s quite hard to stop us. Look at the East Stirlingshire game away, that second half was an absolute battering, nearly the two halves apart from that first ten minutes when they score that one goal but I think you can really see when we gel and we click and I think it’s just trying to find that balance where we can do it for the full 90 minutes. We know each other as players now and we know how to play to our strengths.
MF: Is there any players that when you see them in training or during a match, you realise that this player has some immense talent behind them?
RS: Yeah, I think that when you look at a few of the boys, like you look at Skip [Ross McMillan] – for me, the last four or five years I’ve played with him, he’s probably the best centre half in the league with his experience and playing beside him, you couldn’t really ask for a better centre half to play with. You can tell he just knows how to read a game, he’s always winning headers and it’s just that way you feel comfortable with him. Then there’s also Adam Strachan obviously who’s full of talent. You can tell he can probably be playing at a higher level, we’re lucky enough to get him. When you get Adam firing all cylinders like you know he can then he’s a match winner for you. Everyone else as well, you look at positions on the pitch, you’ve got big Paulo [Martin Grehan] up to, he’s brilliant and brilliant up in the air, brilliant at holding the ball up and then Davie Winters as well, there’s a lot of ability
MF: How did it feel for you your debut game against East Stirlingshire that Swifty put the captain’s armband on you?
RS: Yeah it was really good. I didn’t come in thinking that was going to happen. Obviously when he asked the time, Skip wasn’t back and he asked me if I wanted to do it and it was a privilege. Any time in your career for whatever team it is, it’s an honour. It’s nice that he put that faith in me.
MF: How does your time at Peterhead and Stirling Albion compare to BSC?
RS: Well, looking at it now I really do think that if we were to play a Stirling Albion or Peterhead in a one-off game, I don’t think there would be a major gulf. Obviously certain teams in that league have certain players that can hurt you, like for instance Rory McAllister at Peterhead, but when I look at it now and I look at the league above, I wouldn’t say there’s a major difference. I think you could go into a game with any of the League Two teams and you wouldn’t fear them. When you get to that level, sometimes it’s just a bit of magic from one player and League Two do have good players as well and it’s just that bit of magic that can win you a game. It’s just whoever wants it more and I think if Stirling Albion came and thought we’ll come out on top of them, I don’t think it would be like that at all. I didn’t come in thinking it was going to be easy at all.
MF: In our next round of the South Challenge Cup, we’ve got Threave Rovers, do you think that could be seen a more difficult challenge due to the fact it’s a team we don’t come across often and don’t know their style of play?
RS: They could easily be thinking they could make it to the cup final, or get to further rounds in the cup and make an upset. We’re not going to look at it any different from another team. We’re going to play like we do and not take anything for granted. I’ve been involved in all sorts of upsets with different teams so you don’t take it for granted. You just go out and play your game and if we play our game the way we have the past 3 or 4 weeks, I don’t see a problem with us winning the game.
MF: A wee side note – you must’ve enjoyed going back to Forthbank a few weeks ago, despite being injured?
RS: Yeah, it was good to be back and I was obviously desperate to play because it’s a brilliant pitch. But as I said last year, I was quite glad to get away because I knew my time was up, January onwards. But, yeah, I was still gutted I couldn’t play on a pitch like that. It wasn’t a major thing in my head though that I was going back and I was really looking forward to it, it was just really wanting to play on that pitch because the pitch is brilliant.
MF: Is there future fixtures that yourself or the squad are collectively nervous about?
RS: Not at all, we don’t look any further forward than the next game and the gaffers always said that to us, obviously it’s an important month or two coming up but as I said before, I don’t think we need to fear anyone. I think we can prove at certain points in games that we can cause any team problems, especially when we get 90 minutes of playing solid that we can go on and win games. I wouldn’t say any team makes us nervous to go and play. We just worry about ourselves and if we can play the level that we can then I don’t think we’ll have a problem.
MF: Civil Service Strollers started out with a brilliant campaign to their start of the season, what was morale like after our 2-1 victory over them?
RS: I think that was a good turning point for us because the gaffer said to us, obviously they were on a good run, good at home and they’re a solid team and to go away and win like we did was amazing. I think, us going 1-0 down, a lot of teams maybe wouldn’t have come back from that and obviously the first half we didn’t play our best but I thought second half the way we dug in for each other and obviously Tam getting the double made the difference. I think the way we defended the last 15 minutes of the game was good, we looked solid we’re putting our bodies on the line for each other because we knew how much of an important win it would be. It felt brilliant because you can look at that team and realise that not a lot of teams will go there and win.
MF: A wee informal question to finish off – in your career, what’s your favourite away day been?
RS: When I was at Peterhead, we played Rangers at Ibrox. That was probably the best away day for me because we won 2-1 and Ibrox was full and they were down in League Two at the time. For me, that was probably my favourite away day because of the atmosphere and to do that. Also, when East Stirlingshire is playing at Falkirk, you can’t really ask for much better than that. It’s a really good astro and it’s a lovely stadium. I’ll be looking forward to going back there just because the pitch is brilliant.