Ready for the 2014/15 season – Scott Booth looks ahead.

Written by the Club Reporter.

The Warriors won their League Cup match at Airdrie with a good performance but this Saturday must face the same opposition to start their league campaign. Manager Scott Booth knows it is going to be a harder side to beat this time around, although he is ready for the challenge. 

“They are going to be tough,” said Booth, adding: “They were tough at the end of last season, they were on a really good roll then, they have had a couple of changes but not too much.  But, they have also lost two games and it is always difficult when you go in against a team who are hurting like that, particularly when we have inflicted that on them ourselves last week. We know that and we are ready for that, it is not something we are not expecting. It is about us making sure we can go and deal with it and turn in a similar performance to last week.”

In the 3-1 win at New Broomfield, Stenhousemuir were able to boss the game from the start and despite falling away in the second half, did not get the usual 'in your face' display from the Diamonds as Booth noticed, saying: “We got a few breaks in the first half as well and I think we took the game to them and started at a really high tempo. But, if they had been more like themselves and in our faces then we were ready for that, that was part of the team talk.  We knew they could be like that, because that is the way they play but I think we were ready for it and we shocked them slightly with the tempo we played at.  We were also aggressive, we pressed them quite high and did not give them time on the ball. I think that was all quite effective for us and it did not allow them to get in any sort of rhythm which was good.”

The signs from the Airdrie game were that the Warriors were beginning to gel a little better and that they were starting to settle into the way the gaffer wants them to play, although Booth admits there is still work to be done and that it will not always be easy, noting the 3-1 Challenge Cup defeat at Brora Rangers.

“I appreciate the players know what we want to do but I also know it is a style of play that is difficult to play in every game,” said Booth. “There are some games where you are just stopped from playing or you are not in form or your touch is slightly off and I think we found that against Brora.

 “It [the style we want to play] is adventurous, it is asking the players to take responsibility and play with the ball at their feet and to raise their game and to raise their standards for themselves every game. I think they all know that and they all believe in it and they do try to play that style of football.

“There is still a lot of work to be done but we know that and I do feel we have the right players here to keep improving, we can only attempt to be the best we can be playing that style.”

After two hard games it is good news that the Warriors have a fully fit squad for this week's game, apart from one notable absentee in goals. Booth said: “We are fine, we are all OK, the only long term worry is Wally [Chris Smith] who is still six weeks away but we knew that anyway. He suffered a bad accident in the close season when he was struck by a car whilst cycling and he is still feeling the bruising from that. It will be great to have him back but I think last weekend Jack [Hamilton] settled in really well into the role and I thought he had a good game.”

While the gaffer is happy with the squad he has, he knows he still has the budget and opportunity to bring in more players before the transfer window shuts and Booth is not slacking in trying to improve things, he said: “ We are still looking at players, we are looking at players tonight [Wednesday] just to see how they do, we are constantly looking for improvement and whether we bring anyone in will depend on whether we think they offer us a bit more than what we have got at the moment or something a little bit different to what we have got. That is what we are looking for and I still have potential to bring one or two in.”

There are still players about that could suit Stenny's needs, although it is very much a waiting game as many are still holding out with the hope of getting a full time contract at bigger clubs and the gaffer knows this, saying: “ You have to make sure you have not used up all your spaces for loan players because it is round about the last week when they get itchy feet and want to go out on loan if there is no other club coming in and you have to be ready to snap up any we feel can help us.”

While Airdrie is the immediate challenge, there is also the matter of a home tie against Heart of Midlothian in the League Cup second round and it is something Booth is relishing, he said: “That is great; it will be a great game. I am looking forward to it and that is why it is important to win your first cup game because it opens it up for you to get a big game and a real challenge. They have got some good players, we played them in the Under-20s recently and they have some really good players coming through.”