Neil Hastings interview: Gala Fairydean Rovers succumb to students before win over Gretna 2008

Gala Fairydean Rovers bounced back from Saturday’s 1-0 Scottish Lowland Football League home defeat by Edinburgh University by beating Gretna 2008 3-1 at home on Tuesday night.

Daryl Healy on the ball for Gala Fairydean Rovers against Gretna 2008 (Photo: Thomas Brown)
Daryl Healy on the ball for Gala Fairydean Rovers against Gretna 2008 (Photo: Thomas Brown)

Three days after crashing to Baird’s lone 46th minute strike for the students, goals from Zander Murray (2) and Gregor Jordan saw off a Gretna side whose goal came from a Ewan Cameron penalty awarded for a foul by Ally Touray.

Gala Fairydean boss Neil Hastings said: “We were extremely disappointed after Saturday’s game.

"We started the first period of the game fairly well and had a few chances. A combination of poor finishing from our part and poor decision making, but maybe from their part good defending and good goalkeeping, resulted in us not converting a few chances that we had.

"Fair play to Edinburgh Uni. They were always a threat in the game and they had quality at the top end of the pitch and they took an opportunity in the second half.

"I was really frustrated because we were really disjointed and it wasn’t the performance we were looking for.

"We had a lot of possession at times but it wasn’t like we were bombarding their goal. I felt we were a little bit frantic after they scored.”

After that disappointment, Hastings got the reaction he was looking for from his players in the win over Gretna.

Gala Fairydean Rovers beating Gretna 2008 3-1 on Tuesday (Photo: Thomas Brown)

"From the get go the players were excellent,” he said. “It was much more like us in terms of the control of the football and trying to dominate possession against a well organised team who are down at the lower end of the league but fighting for their lives.

"They sat with a 5-4-1 so they had a lot of players behind the ball making it difficult for you.

"But we scored a good goal early on which probably settled us down and I think that was maybe the difference between Tuesday night and Saturday, that we converted a chance early doors which sometimes relaxes players.

"We then go 2-0 up but when they score a goal on 80-odd minutes the worry is that at 2-1 they’re going to chuck everything at you.

"But fair play to the boys again, the character and the spirit showed when we went up the pitch a couple of minutes later and scored to make it 3-1. That just made the last five or six minutes a little bit easier.”

Rovers, eighth in the table with 29 points from 17 games, are next in Lowland League action this Saturday when they travel to leaders Bonnyrigg Rose.

Hastings said: “Bonnyrigg are flying high and obviously it’s going to be a huge challenge.

"They were favourites to win the league at the start of the season and they’re up there on merit.

"They’ve got a right good group of players. I know Robbie Horn (manager) really well and I know a lot of their players.

"They have added two or three and they seem to do that every year. They keep the majority of their group, they’re well organised, a well oiled machine with lots of experience and they’re very good at what they do.

"We are under no illusions as to how difficult Saturday is going to be but we don’t fear anyone in the league. We’ll go there and try and pick up three points as we do in every game.

"I believe that we’ve got a right good group of players, good individually, good collectively.

"It’s a very competitive league. We are behind where we want to be.

"I need to stress that I don’t want us to be a club that just make up numbers and are happy to win some, lose some and draw some, I want us to be as competitive as we possibly can be and try and push as high as we possibly can.

"In terms of the financial side of things we should never be where we are but you put that pressure on yourself."