Hopes that Selkirk players can warm to the task in winter thaw

Selkirk FC boss John Coughlin is hoping the fierce winter elements will abate soon to improve his side's chances of decent twice-weekly training sesssions.

Friday, 9th March 2018, 8:30 am
The 4-3 win over Stirling University was John Coughlin's first home match in charge of Selkirk (picture by Grant Kinghorn).

The severe burst of winter conditions, coupled with a change in training arrangements, has made it very hard for the side to get together since their fine win on February 24 over Stirling University.

Therefore, the manager was hoping the thaw earlier this week, plus the possibility of injuries having healed and players returning from holiday, and other absences, might allow a healthy gathering and worthwhile preparations for tomorrow’s (Saturday) game against Civil Service Strollers.

Selkirk are looking to maintain their league position as best they can, with Coughlin reckoning the Lowland League has already effectively split into two – the top four clubs and those in the distance behind them, bidding to be the best of the rest.

Selkirk recaptured fifth place in the table after delivering the win their manager said they needed – a 4-3 success over Stirling University, while last Saturday’s game, against Edinburgh University, was buried by the snow.

Once again, the Souters had a largely threadbare side, peppered with U20 players, on the pitch, but they won thanks to goals from Daryl Healy, Reece Donaldson, Ross King and Dale Baxter.

Coughlin said Selkirk’s main aim was to preserve their league position, if possible. Finishing any higher would be a great bonus, given the points difference between them and the leading quartet, the number of games still to play, and the resources at their disposal.

However, the side was now having train twice a week at Saughton, following the end of an arrangement over facilities at Lochend, which was a “massive burden” for the players who had to make the trip from places such as Galashiels and Fife. Coughlin said he and the squad would have to make the best of it and hope they could lay decent foundations for the Saturday matches.

The manager praised the players for their response against Stirling University, with a few youngsters drafted in, some playing in unfamiliar positions, and for trying to do their best.

“You’ve just got to take responsibility for what you can affect in the game, and they did that,” he said. “We did enough to win the game, although it was a very nervous finish, losing a goal as late as we did.

“It probably puts a reflection on the game as being tight, but it was sewn up before that. We should have seen it out a lot more comfortably than we did but, having said that, we got there.

“The main thing was making sure we got the points, and we did that.”

Coughlin hoped to be able to field a stronger line-up against Civil SS, with the hoped-for return of Reece Donaldson, Sean McKirdy, David Banjo and Dale Baxter added to the recognised influence of Ryan Sclater and Daryl Healy. “There are no easy games at this stage of the season,” he observed.

“If Yarrow is good enough to play on, the conditions may still be a bit sticky and not great, and it could be a war of attrition in terms of the physicality of the game.

“Hopefully, our better players can show up on the day.”