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Carnoustie boss Phil McGuire insists that not enough clubs have a long term plan in place and that continual improvement comes in small increments.

I sat down with the gaffer this week to discuss the involvement of the u16 players at training and in the matchday squads.

You have included u16s in the last couple of matchday squads, what was your thinking behind it.

Yes I have,  we have had Lewis, Kieran and Bruce training with us. I asked about what was coming through the pathway as I believe it’s a fundamentally important part of the clubs long term progression. It is no secret we have struggled with injuries, suspensions and other commitments. So I saw the chance to promote players who have been doing well but crucially to give them experience and a boost, emphasising that their footballing development is important to me and the club. Managing that development is now happening with them integrating into our sessions, helping to develop and make the transition from boys club to junior football easier.

U16’s coach Andrew Millar has seen at close quarters how you work, this looks to be a great development

The idea behind that is that the nearest age group to the first team is the u16’s currently. We want and I want to establish a clear link and help develop and be open to better practices within the age group. We are all here to develop players and yes at the top of the pyramid is the 1st team, so we need to be engaged and encouraging that open transparency to help the coaches and not just be seen to want to do it but to actually back it up. I have seen all this in the past and actions speak louder than words.

We are never going to be able to go out and spend 3 or £4k on a player and not many Junior clubs can any more, so how important is a real quality pathway through from our youth sides ?

That’s correct, running of football clubs is so important and heavily weighted on volunteers and sponsorships both locally and wider areas. If we can have a clear quality pathway, not only to provide players to the 1st team but in the bigger picture keeping players within the programme and still playing whichever level that may be. I believe having youth teams, amateur teams and the 1st team that we can do this and progress the community club as a whole, that also involves the woman’s game and senior football with walking, over 35s programmes. The more clubs we have the better the community club will be and the more participants we will receive.

I believe that in today’s game not enough clubs have long term plans in place, we all want to be the best and achieve success in the shortest time frame, but success comes with small increments of progression to achieve long term stability and success and this will then follow in a number of ways both on and off the park.

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