'Bomber' Brown Ferguson steps in to Scott's shoes this week and is interviewed by our Club Reporter for The
Booth Brown Report.
After stealing a win against Airdieonians to open their league campaign, the Warriors make the trip to Glebe Park on Saturday to face a Brechin side who got a nil nil draw at Dunfermline last week. Assistant manager Brown Ferguson knows the Warriors are up to the task, although he realises improvements have to be made after last week at Ochiliview.
“It is very early days in the season and going to Brechin is never an easy task, they will be buoyed by their start to the season,” said Ferguson. “They have made a couple of additions to the squad and they had good players there already, so we know it will be a difficult match but we have just got to focus on what it is we need to try to do to be better than we were on Saturday. That has been the focus of training, tightening things up and taking them forward and, hopefully, getting an improved performance on Saturday.”
Captain Ross McMillan missed last week but should be back for this game, Ferguson saying:
“He had a slight strain and was out but should be back in contention this weekend but you will have seen we have, arguably, one of our best players in the time he was here last season, Stewart Greacan to step in, so we have got strength in depth in that position and that gave the skipper an opportunity not to push himself and risk being out for longer.
The only other major doubt is who will start in goals with Jack Hamilton being recalled to Hearts, who lost Neil Alexander with a fractured cheekbone in the victory over Rangers. The club has targeted a replacement and is in the process of bringing him in.
A better performance will be needed at Brechin but Stenny can still look back at a fighting win last week, even if they were under pressure in many spells before snatching a late winner.
“We do not want to rely on that but there is definitely a resilience within the group and that was demonstrated last season when we got a lot of late goals,” said Ferguson. “Granted, at times on Saturday we rode our luck, it was not just good defending and there was some bad finishing as well but there were times when our players threw their bodies in front of it and the keeper pulled off saves when required.
“Then we had the ability to counter quickly in the closing minutes with an excellent breakaway and two or three passes later the ball was in the back of the net. That is a positive but it is something we want to have after other positives. The good thing is that the players have acknowledged it was not the performance we were looking for but there will be times this season when we play well and don't pick up the win we deserve, that is football. So if we step back and analyse how we performed that is an important thing and the players are doing that and this Saturday is an opportunity to try to bed in what we have been trying to do.”
One of the positives of the Airdrie game and many other games since he has stepped up to the first team is Ciaran Summers and Ferguson is delighted with the young player, saying: “You are always a bit sceptical when any young player comes in to put the trust in him but Ciaran, arguably, over the past seven or eight games has been man of the match in the majority of them, he has shown an excellent calmness and quality to his play and again he is another player who keeps asking questions of himself, saying how can I get better, what can I improve and if he keeps showing that drive to improve he will continue to do so. He will have poorer games, I do not think he had a great game against Brora, but he has come in with two good performances since then. We have high hopes he will continue to progress but it is not just him, we have a lot of younger players in the squad who are of the same mindset and given time, they will show their qualities as well.
“Josh Watt was out on loan at East Stirling and recalled and he is a quality player, he is a player who can drift by people, he can drop a shoulder and commit defenders by driving at them with skill. He is a quality player and if he could get more consistency in his play he could light up this division.”
A big plus for Stenny is their fitness level this season and while the new style under Booth will take a while to work out, Ferguson is very hopeful, saying: “We were pleased with pre-season, everybody says pre-season is about fitness but we were already fitter than we were at the end of last season, we know that because we have tested it, we know they are fitter and stronger which is a great plus.
“There is a complete change of focus and emphasis on the system this season and that will take time to bed in and the players will have to gel as a team, but, I have certainly been extremely positive and delighted on how they have managed so far. Yes there have been down sides and, like everybody else, we recognise when they have been but, for me, so far there have been a lot more positives and as a group of players and a team we just have to build and focus on that and if we do that we will win games.”