'We pressed in numbers and it worked a treat' - Gala Fairydean Rovers boss Martin Scott impressed by second half showing despite defeat to Rangers B

Gala Fairydean Rovers gaffer Martin Scott has revealed that – despite feeling disappointment at the final result – a half-time tactical switch “worked a treat” for a second half spell in last Friday night’s 5-2 Scottish Lowland Football League defeat at Rangers B.

By Craig Goldthorp
Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 10:51 am
Martin Scott (right) was proud of his players' second half showing on Friday night (Pic by Bill McBurnie)
Martin Scott (right) was proud of his players' second half showing on Friday night (Pic by Bill McBurnie)

Trailing 3-0 at the interval to goals by Ross McCausland (2) and Arron Lyall, Rovers hit back in the second half with strikes by Marc Berry and Lewis Hall.

But the Netherdale side, who had other chances to score, were finally put to the sword for good late on when the Gers second string netted two further goals via Kane Ritchie-Hosler and a last minute Charlie McCann penalty after a foul on Tony Weston.

"Rangers were pretty decent in the first half,” gaffer Scott told the Southern Reporter. “You’ve got to give credit where credit’s due.

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Rovers' top scorer Zander Murray

"They went 3-0 up in the game within 31 minutes. We tried to press them high up the park but the way they were manipulating the ball and moving it side to side, with the quality they’ve got they were getting out.

"It was 3-0 at half-time so we got the chance to speak to the boys and address it. We sort of had a tactical switch at half-time and went more of a mid press.

"We kind of gave up possession until midway into their half and then pressed in numbers and it seemed to work a treat.

"We got ourselves right back into the game. After Marc’s opening goal, we probably had two other chances to score which could have drawn us level.

"Ryan Schiavone had a one on one chance and Zander Murray hit the bar after a breakaway.

"Then Rangers hit the bar, then we scored. So it was a pretty exciting game, especially in the second half.

"I thought we deserved something out of the game. I was proud of the players. We were knocking on the door at 3-2 and if it had gone to 3-3 you couldn’t have complained.”

Following the Rangers B match, Rovers had initially been due to travel to Kinnoul on Tuesday to play an East of Scotland Qualifying Cup semi-final, but on Sunday the game was postponed.

As Kinnoul don’t have floodlights, the game would have had to have kicked off at the unexpectedly early time of 6pm, too early to ask Gala players to travel there due to work commitments.

Rovers boss Scott revealed that he was frustrated by the unanticipated call-off as with 20 minutes to go in the Rangers B game he’d substituted key men like Murray and Chalmers as he was trying to rest them as much as possible ahead of the semi-final.

"The game was in the balance at that time and then Rangers B went and scored two goals,” Scott added.

"I think we were in the ascendancy at that point. We were causing Rangers problems and Zander as you know is a major goal threat for us.

"It was nothing to do with the guys who came on as we tried to make changes to impact the game. I thought they did very well when they came on but you’re taking away your top goalscorer to obviously give him a bit of a rest thinking ahead when the game’s at 3-2.

"It probably does have an impact on the overall result in that he looked like he was likely to score.

"So that’s a little bit frustrating but it’s football. We are not blessed to have a big squad so we’ve got to utilise the squad as best as we can.”

Scott then elaborated on how the call-off of the Kinnoul game had totally disrupted his plans.

“You’re prepping for the semi-final and then you get told it’s off, it’s mental,” he added.

"We were trying to prepare for a semi-final on a Tuesday night. So we started tweaking.

"Zander was coming right into the game at that point and I was cautious with him because he had been off with illness recently and had missed a week or two of training.

"So I was wanting to make sure that he was good to go for the semi-final.

"Obviously he’s an important player for us. Looking back on it, with the Tuesday night game then being put off, maybe we should have just gone with Zander for the full 90 minutes.”

We can reveal that Rovers believed the semi-final would go ahead as planned on Tuesday as recently as last Saturday, when the club received notification of the SFA referee appointments for the game.

"I think our guys were looking forward to it (playing on Tuesday),” Scott said.

"But I don’t think it would have been possible for us to get there for 6pm. You’ve got to take into consideration travel and traffic. If you get one or two players sort of stuck it could postpone the kick-off time and it would be a nightmare for everybody I think.

"I think the game has now been rescheduled for Saturday, April 30 which is the right thing to do.

"That will probably give guys a chance to get their friends and family across. So it’s actually probably going to be more beneficial rather than having a midweek game.

"The guys are just desperate to play. But at least not having a midweek game has given us a chance to regroup again.”

The defeat at Rangers B has left Gala Fairydean 13th in the Lowland League table with 37 points from 31 fixtures.

Away from the league, Rovers’ next test will come this Saturday when they host Broomhill in the Lowland League Cup quarter-finals.

"They beat us 3-1 a couple of weeks ago,” Scott said. “So I think the guys will be looking forward to that one and trying to prove that they’re a good set of players and get the result against Broomhill.”