'I put on a pretty gruelling schedule' - Gala Fairydean Rovers boss Martin Scott gets his players in top shape ahead of Lowland League opener this weekend

With six new signings on board at Gala Fairydean Rovers, gaffer Martin Scott is enthused ahead of the new Scottish Lowland Football League campaign starting this Saturday.

Martin Scott will lead Rovers into 2022-23 Scottish Lowland Football League campaign this Saturday
Martin Scott will lead Rovers into 2022-23 Scottish Lowland Football League campaign this Saturday

Goalkeeper Ryan Goodfellow, defender Kelvin Daniel, midfielders Danny Galbraith and Ethan Dougal and attackers Jazic Balde and Allan Smith have all arrived at the Galashiels outfit this summer as Scott tries to build a squad capable of competing well in the 2022-23 season.

"Preparation has been going relatively well,” Scott – whose men visit Motherwell outfit Caledonian Braves in their league opener this Saturday – told The Southern Reporter.

"I put on a pretty gruelling schedule over the pre-season period.

"It was designed that way in terms of giving us a proper workout. I have not looked too much into results in terms of the scorelines (in pre-season friendlies).

"Obviously we took heavy defeats from Clyde, Cove Rangers and Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts but up until the 45-minute mark in the games I was really, really happy with the way the team applied themselves and the organisation.

"Not on one occasion did we have a full strength squad to pick from through pre-season.

"Throughout the course of the games I was looking at trialists, making changes and assessing different things. So I wasn’t too disappointed in terms of the results.

"We got what we wanted out the course of the pre-season.

"Going into a competitive game this weekend I think our preparation has been really good, the guys are still working hard at the moment.

"So I’m looking forward to it. Anyone looking into the Lowland League now from the outside can see that it’s going to be a competitive league and year in, year out it’s getting stronger and stronger.”

Former Ross County and Hibs ace Scott, who has a playing squad of 19 at Rovers, still dons the boots himself and played 45 minutes in midfield against Cove and Inverkeithing and 25 minutes against Clyde.

"I think midfield is certainly an area that we’re really strong,” he added. “So I’ll probably be used more again as cover but predominantly leaning more towards focusing on managing the team.”

Going into the Braves league opener, Scott remains without long term injury crock Ben Herdman who will be out until around Christmas.

A year ago, Herdman tore his anterior cruciate ligament and medial meniscus after sustaining a horror leg injury just five minutes into Gala Fairydean’s 2021-22 Lowland League campaign.

But – thanks to a successful Crowdfunding campaign which raised around £7500 for a private operation and rehabilitation – Herdman went under the knife in January and is on the road to recovery.

Rovers’ Jack Beaumont is back in training but five weeks away from being available, while Ciaren Chalmers is just returning to fitness after struggling with injury throughout the summer.

Departing the club in recent weeks have been Ross Aitchison, who has joined Coldstream, and Scott Cusick.

Last season’s loanees Ryan Schiavone – who has now joined East Fife from Hearts – and Arron Darge, who is being retained by the Jambos, have also left Gala Fairydean.

Having finished 13th in the league last season, Scott revealed his aims for this term.

"I would say the target is to approach every game – the old cliche – one game at a time and just see where it takes us over the course of a season.

"It’s going to probably be the strongest the league’s ever been this year.

"But I would like to think we’ve managed to assemble a squad that’s able to compete in the league.

"If we put a league position on it, we’d definitely want to better 13th position.”