'I've probably still got something to offer' - Gala Fairydean Rovers boss Martin Scott considering playing this Saturday

New Gala Fairydean Rovers gaffer Martin Scott hasn’t ruled out playing in their Scottish Lowland Football League game at Stirling University this Saturday.

By Craig Goldthorp
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 12:28 pm
New Gala Fairydean Rovers boss Martin Scott watching his side being beaten 3-0 by Bonnyrigg Rose on Saturday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)
New Gala Fairydean Rovers boss Martin Scott watching his side being beaten 3-0 by Bonnyrigg Rose on Saturday (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

The 35-year-old former Livingston, Ross County and Hibs player understandably wanted to focus purely on management for his debut as gaffer – a 3-0 home league defeat by leaders Bonnyrigg Rose last Saturday – but might don the boots this weekend.

"I was recovering from a calf strain so I’d probably have to do a wee bit more fitness work,” Scott told The Southern Reporter.

"I’ll probably train a wee bit more this week but we’ll assess it going forward.

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Zander Murray on the ball for Gala Fairydean Rovers against Bonnyrigg Rose (Photo: Bill McBurnie)

"We’ve got Steven Craig and Colin McCall as the coaches on the bench so they’re more than capable of managing the team from the side if I was on the park.

"I could maybe get a bit of influence on the park.

"I’ve probably still got something to offer in the playing capacity. I was fortunate enough to speak to a lot of managers who I have played under who’ve made that transition to player/manager.

"They said sometimes it is maybe better to take a back seat and focus on preparation for the game in terms of that’s your one focus.

"But there could be a possibility I will play.”

On his managerial bow last weekend, Scott said it was a good baptism of fire against the league leaders but Neil Hastings’ replacement had really enjoyed it in terms of the experience and prepping the team.

He said: "Seeing us play like that in the second half – which Rovers dominated – there were a lot of positives to take out of that.

"It was some of the best football I’ve seen us play this year. It was flowing, it was dominant in possession, it was good decision making and we had good opportunities to convert in the game which was pleasing.

"But ultimately I want to win games and it hurts me when we get beat.

“It was certainly a different experience as opposed to going out and just playing the game as a player.

"Obviously you’ve got other aspects of the game to think about.

"I was very fortunate in terms of when Neil was in charge he kind of opened his arms up and showed me everything from top to bottom.

"I was allowed to lean on him for support. He was fantastic just before he departed so going into the game I was quite confident on how to conduct the team talk, get the boys prepared properly and make sure we went out and gave a good account of ourselves.

"It was a surreal experience but it’s one you get a real buzz for after you’ve done it once I think.

"We’ll be focusing on the positives going into this weekend’s game against Stirling Uni.

"We will do our homework on them, give them respect but we will also focus on ourselves, it’s about what we do.”

Scott admitted Rose had been by far the better team in the first half, as they went 2-0 up with goals by Keiran McGachie and Ross Gray.

However, Rovers improved greatly in the second half and were the better side – creating and missing some good chances – before Bonnyrigg sealed it with a late Callum Connolly goal.

"We had a great chance in the 33rd minute,” Scott said. “Daryl Healy probably should have converted from there.

"That could have made it 2-1 at half-time so that was probably a key moment in the game.

"Second half we were probably the team in the ascendancy and looking to go on and ask questions of Bonnyrigg.

"I was very proud of the guys’ performance in the second half, but I also reiterated to them that the first 45 minutes wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t particularly pleased how we approached the game.

"First half we wanted to try and impose ourselves on the game and pass the ball and build from the back.

"To me, it looked like Bonnyrigg were setting traps and they’d obviously prepped for the game very well.

"We were caught in between going long and playing short and it kind of played into Bonnyrigg’s hands and they sort of swept up the long balls and played off the second balls and it gave them an ascendancy in the first half.

"We found it difficult to counteract that.”

Things improved after the interval once Scott tweaked Gala’s formation.

He added: “That allowed us to get better numbers of players in better areas of the park and it actually counteracted Bonnyrigg’s system, and for large spells of the game in the second half they defended, which was credit to our guys. There won’t be many teams at the Lowland League level that can ask those questions of Bonnyrigg.

"The final goal probably flatters them, but again I want my team to be a team that does not want to concede, regardless of the time or how the game has panned out.

"I want us to be solid and hard to beat at all times, but you can see why Bonnyrigg are top of the league and that’s something I want to try and instil in my players – be difficult to beat when you’re up against it and you’ll always have a chance of winning games.

"I reiterated to the guys we need to be clinical and we need to be ruthless and that’s at both ends of the pitch.”

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