Our Club correspondent talks to Scott Booth about the Warriors final match, and on plans for next season.
Stenhousemuir finished the season with one of their best displays at Glebe Park and despite missing out on a play-off place there was plenty for the travelling supporters to enjoy and it was also a performance that pleased manager Scott Booth, who can now start planning for next season.
Booth said: “It was a good day, we played some good football and scored some goals, albeit from the penalty spot for two of them but I think, more importantly, we were able to play with tempo and attack mindedness and I want the club to go in that direction.”
Of course, there was no escaping Stenny had just missed out on a play-off spot and that was the downside, although Booth was pleased with the final day but not the previous week, a home defeat to Airdrie. He said: “I thought, all in all, it was a good day, the fans seemed to enjoy themselves and it was another three points to our tally but, obviously, just a point short of the play-offs. I think the only disappointment would be, not on the day I did not feel any disappointment then, the disappointment had all been the week previous. That is something to learn from, the whole point is the club has been very close for three seasons to the play-offs and it is now a case of making sure we can go a step further next season.”
With next season in mind, it was good to see the mix of youth and experience in the side, something Booth says he wants to utilise, plus he was able to enjoy some good individual performances. He said: “I thought Josh [Watt], Sean [Dickson], Ciaran [Summers], again, and Robbie [Duncan], were all excellent and Alan Lawson was good as well. We had the younger ones in the team and the ones with less experience, again showed some really good signs and it was a young side that ended the game.”
However, Booth also knows the importance of experience, adding: “You have got two or three players in there who have got a bit of experience, which is really important, Wally [Chris Smith], Stewart Greacen and Hodgey [Bryan Hodge] were excellent in the game and that gives you a good backbone. Right through the central area to big John up front we had a good strength to the team and the young players on the periphery, when you look at the full backs and the wide ones, they added to that really well.”
The unfortunate loss of Smith, who was red-carded for giving away a penalty from a situation that forced him to commit was a down point, although the ovation he received from the sizeable travelling support was testament to the respect the keeper has at Stenny, plus it gave a rare first team chance for Dean Shaw, who showed he is well up to the task.
Booth was both pleased with his performance and glad to have had the chance to have a good look at the young keeper, saying: “Deano did really well, it was good to see him with a first team game behind him, I had not seen him play in the first team before, you don't often get a chance to make those changes, so to get him in there was good, although I am sure Wally would have preferred to stay on the park.”
Brechin also had a man put off and this certainly helped Stenny, Booth said: “What it did do with the sending offs, it meant the game was really open, it made the park bigger and I thought because of that our better players showed how good they can be. All in all I was very happy with the changes we had to make, the players that came on did well, so I was happy with that too.”
The ability to use width is something Stenny have at all of their home games and this is important to Booth, who said: “To have a big surface out there and to have good players, it works well, you do not want to have a tight little pitch when you have excellent players that use the space well and that is something that next season we can utilise a little bit more.”
As for next season, it will be a while before the squad is finalised but Booth is happy with what he has to work with so far, saying: “I think the balance in the team is coming on now in my opinion, it is a slightly better balance of youth and experience and we are getting closer to how I would like the team to be.
The Club would like to thank our correspondent for writing The Booth Report each week. This is a fan led initiative and a great way for supporters near and far to hear The Manager's thoughts and plans.