Hello and welcome to our new and improved web site which will include a fortnightly update from myself to try and keep you informed on what is happening behind the scenes at Ochilview.
Our current form is obviously the topic of the moment and that was evident after the weekends defeat to East Stirling. I don’t think that anyone connected with the club could have predicted that result as we had come off a great result in the previous game against Cowdenbeath. The midweek games did not go our way and we find ourselves in fourth spot going into the game against Elgin, a position that we can only blame ourselves for. The league table does not lie and shows that we must improve quickly to avoid dropping off the pace. The supporters made their feelings known at the end of the Shire game and they can only take my word for it that their disappointment is nowhere near mine. I pick the team and tactics and therefore take full responsibility for the result. I could not believe what I was witnessing, we were on the day outplayed by a very good Shire team, and hard as it is there, are times when you have to recognise that other teams in this division have quality in their ranks.
As Stenny supporters I realise that you don’t want to dwell on other teams capabilities and we won’t, all that matters is the players response to that defeat and how we handle being out of the top two for the first time in months. A win in Elgin keeps us in there fighting and there is no negativity to be found around the dressing room, we have assembled the best squad that we can and we have to show faith in the people who matter most at the club, the players.
I would expect our supporters to get behind the players, and by that I mean all the players whenever they pull on a Stenny shirt, every one of you will have your own opinion on who should or shouldn’t play but really all that matters is that everyone realises that these players are doing their best for you, they have the club at heart and want to bring success for the fans and will continue to do that until the end of the season. For my own part, there seems to be a bit of criticism flying about regarding team selection and I can understand that. When things are going well the players are fantastic and when results go wrong the manager is incompetent. I know this is true from my own experiences I have been around as an Assistant Manager and Manager in my own right for years and have seen it all before. Better managers than me have suffered and it can be a testing time, I have confidence in my ability to manage us through this time and get us back on track. Judgements on Managers and players should be made after the Season ends and we see were we have ended up. As I said earlier, the league does not lie and we will end up were we deserve to end up, again I am talking from experience. I have been through seasons like this before and although it seems tough at the moment, I feel that progress has been made since I took over and player for player we are much better off.
Of course there are some things out of my control, and Steve Ferguson’s departure is a blow on many fronts and personally hard to take as I count him as a good friend. Fergie has an opportunity to further his coaching career and we could not stand in his way. Finding another captain to take over from him has been a challenge, anyone can lead a team on to a pitch, it’s what you do when you get there. You must lead by example and also be a strong personality in the dressing room, a driving force in games and the Managers right hand man. This is not a criticism of big John Ovenstone or Willie Lyle who have both had the job recently. Big John has not played in every game and Willie is about to begin a three game suspension which will overlap Chris McLeod’s ban so it has been, and will continue to be, a testing time. What we need right now is strong characters in the dressing room who have the mental strength to carry on when things are tight and come out fighting. I asked the boys to be true to their name and be Warriors against Cowden and will re-iterate that to them in the coming weeks. The suspensions to Lyle and McLeod could not have come at a worse time but we will get through it. I may recall Gary Thom to the squad next week and will have new father Scott Daziel back in contention this week. I took the decision to leave the big man on the bench last week, clutching his mobile phone in case baby Dazzler decided to pop out during the game, as it was he held on to Saturday night and the result was that we lost a very influential player for the game. I know many people who would disagree with that decision but I did not want to be the man who possibly deprived Scott of witnessing the birth of his first child, I hope the big man celebrates with a goal or two in Elgin!
I will leave you with the news that both Rob Love and Alan Brazil may be fit enough to play in a practice match next week and will hopefully help us get back on track for the run in. I hope we are six points better off by the time I get back to you and we are hitting form again. There are plenty of twists and turns to come yet and we must remain positive and believe that we can achieve what we set out to do. Stick with it, real supporters support through thick and thin, and hopefully get their rewards for it.