It’s been a busy week at Laing Park in the build up to Saturdays game against Broughty Athletic but manager Phil McGuire found time to sit down for a chat.
Before we move on to this weeks game, you agreed new deals with Sam Simpson and Pat Martin last week and now this week, Jamie Winter , Bailey Steel and Ryan Roche, have put pen to paper, so that five plkayers already committed their long term future to the club?
Yes we began some talks with the squad and will continue to do so over the next few weeks, for me it is so important that this club has an identity, we have a good blend of youth and experience within the squad. The players have been tremendous this season and are also very grounded which is important, the five players committing themselves shows a real intent as to how we want this club to progress and the important part is the players buying into the ideas and the way we work at the club. We know how important it is to develop existing players and we believe over the last year we have done this and given them a new dimension to their game and this is a just reward.
As well as the new deals you have added Keiran Sturrock to the squad and now his clearance is through, he is available this weekend?
I have known Kieran for a number of years now and have seen him develop up close at Montrose FC and then at St Andrews, Kieran is still young and again it shows the dynamics for this club in securing some of the best talent and potential in the area. It is important when speaking to players that firstly they will fit into our squad and add a new dimension. What players will get in return from me, will be well looked after, good facilities, good standards of training while enjoying their football and most importantly it’s a well run club when it comes to the finer details, I believe if a player doesn’t want that and chases money then he is not the right player for us and over the last year I have dealt with that and refused some very good players due to being the wrong fit. It was great dealing with Kieran as he bought into our ideas so it made the process very smooth. Kieran gives us a different dimension and we spoke in length prior to him going out to New Zealand and for me it was a valuable bit of experience not only on the football front but a life experience, this will assist Kieran in his own personal development. Kieran has fitted in well with the guys and knows the demands and standards in which I and the team set and he has adapted well, overt the next few weeks we will get Kieran fully up to speed.
We will continue to strengthen and look at options firstly starting within our own setup and also looking at our U17s and players that will be coming into that age bracket to see how we can transition them into our setup, while also identifying those in the surrounding areas.
Games with Broughty Athletic are always keenly contested and this one sees the two clubs occupying the top two positions?
Yes I think over the course of the last year the games have been competitive and had an edge to them, some we have lost and some we have won. Both clubs occupy the top two positions with ourselves top and Broughty in second, so that itself adds a bit extra to the game. I believe both clubs will go into the game with one clear thought and that is to compete and look for the 3 points.
Broughty have been on a bit of a run and had a good win in the cup last weekend, they also have a different squad to the one that we faced back in August?
Yes they have been on a good run picking up points, likewise ourselves from the first game of the season, we have maintained high standards and led the Super League from day one but we will never get carried away with ourselves and will always be looking to prove ourselves. The squad Broughty had in the first game was a very strong squad and I believe they have maybe added a couple in key areas, buying Josh Skelly from Montrose FC to boost the attack and Ryan Connelly on loan from Cowdenbeath but by and large its a similar squad. We only need to focus on ourselves, we will respect all our opponents but know it’s about us maintaining standards and being competitive in every game, if we do that then we will always have half a chance.
Finally, I know you are a one game at a time manager but November is a big month, with games against Broughty in 2nd, North End who are third and Lochee United who are playing catch up, as well as a clash at home to Tayport, these games will be a major indicator as to whether we can sustain our title challenge?
Yes you have answered your own question on that…
In all seriousness every game is big for this club and the teams we are facing are the same ones we faced in the first wave of games so we know what to expect. We have always and will always be a looking at the very next game type of team, yes it may be an old cliche but its very much true. The guys have worked tremendously hard through large parts of last season, setting the foundations into Pre-Season and this current season. We have managed to take every game one at a time and led the Super League from day one, this is something, that I am told, Carnoustie have never done or been involved in, in the Super League. What we can’t allow is complacency and I believe at times that can happen when we get too ahead of ourselves.
This season I have heard from other teams and supporters “yeah they will fail, lets see where they are in a few weeks or 6 months time” that’s perfectly fine and if you are at the top end of the league after 6 months then you must be doing something right, that’s why we only look at the very next game. Will we have a wobble ? Yes maybe we will, Will we lose games ? Yes I am sure we will, however, it is how we deal with that and rectify it, while always looking to compete and to be consistent. That will determine our season as consistency and competitiveness are key in games and training. The challenge would then be, can we turn that defeat into a draw or even the draw into a victory, they will always be our personal and collective tasks for both staff and players this season.