Inside the Box – Programme notes from today’s game against Annan Athletic

What a finish to 2018 and start to 2019! Happy New Year! Although we rang out the Old with a less than impressive 90 minutes against Cowdenbeath, a win’s a win and the ringing in of the New, with a win against table-toppers Edinburgh City, was arguably our best away performance since the defeat of Peterhead at the start of last season.

There was much to like against Edinburgh from front to back, but most pleasing was the nullification of the free-scoring duo of Henderson and Shepherd by our defence. Too often we’ve made things hard for ourselves by conceding soft goals and yesterday I don’t recall the back four or Calum Ferrie putting a foot wrong.

A mention, too, for Dylan Mackin and Jason Marr who were far from being fit to start but insisted on taking their place on the bench to support the starting XI.

It’s easy to give the credit to Kevin Rutkiewicz for the turnaround in our fortunes – and indeed that is entirely justified! – but, and I’m sure he would say it himself, he couldn’t achieve what he does without his support team.

Assistant Manager, Martin Hardie, Goalkeeping Coach Jim McQueen and Physio Kenny Crichton all play a huge part in preparing the squad to deliver their best on a match day. Without fear of contradiction, with our extensive (and ongoing) injury list, Kenny has been the busiest part-time physiotherapist in Scottish football this season and we are incredibly fortunate to have someone who is so hugely experienced and gives way and above his contracted hours by regularly seeing players at his own clinic during the week.

As intimated in my last programme notes, the Club Board are very actively engaged in discussion with the Manager with regards to strengthening the playing squad. Indeed, it may be that changes will have occurred before this article goes public! This is no reflection on the current squad but a recognition that, as exampled yesterday, we are short on numbers!

Turning to today’s match versus our good friends from Annan, I extend the usual warm welcome to their officials, management, players and supporters. Make no mistake, however, that friendship and warmth will go on ice between 3pm and 5pm as we continue our pursuit of climbing the league table.

Good health and good fortune to Binos everywhere for 2019.

Stuart Brown
SAFC Chairman