The IRN-BRU Phenomenal Award winners have been named for the month of February. After much debate, a judging panel consisting of respresentatives from the Scottish media decided upon the winners.
The winners for February are:
- FIRST DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: JOHN MCGLYNN (RAITH ROVERS FC)
- SECOND DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: JIM WEIR (ARBROATH FC)
- THIRD DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: DICK CAMPBELL (FORFAR ATHLETIC FC)
- PLAYER OF THE MONTH: STUART NOBLE (ALLOA ATHLETIC FC)
- YOUNG PLAYER OF THE MONTH: CALLUM BOOTH (ARBROATH FC – on loan from HIBERNIAN FC)
JOHN MCGLYNN (RAITH ROVERS FC)
Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn picked up the IRN-BRU Phenomenal First Division Manager of the Month Award despite his side ironically having a League record that read played one, lost one during February.
McGlynn was recognised for his team’s super Scottish Cup efforts where they held SPL Aberdeen at Kirkcaldy 1-1 before seeing off the Dons 1-0 on their own Pittodrie pitch despite having a patch work side.
Aberdeen struck in injury time to force the original tie on 6th February to a replay and the Kirkcaldy club saw their profile raised before and after the second meeting between the clubs ten days later.
McGlynn explained, “People became more aware of the replay after it was suggested that Mark McGhee would field a weakened team against Celtic on the Saturday before and the attention remained high as a result of our win. It has been great for the club as the cup run brings in extra revenue.”
The Stark’s Park boss admitted that he was fearful going to Pittodrie as he had lost defender Mark Campbell after the Man of the Match in the first game was injured in a car crash just two days before the game. Club captain Iain Davidson was already ruled out and defender Laurie Ellis was another absentee after being injured in the 4-0 defeat by Inverness Caledonian Thistle on the Saturday between the cup games. That fear almost turned to despair when Dougie Hill was injured in the warm up however, the belief that they could win started coming when they noticed Charlie Mulgrew was missing for Aberdeen.
McGlynn said, “I thought we may have got a bit of a going over but we got a lift when we saw Charlie’s threat from set-pieces was missing. After 10 minutes of the game, we had settled down and after 20 minutes, we had created a chance so belief grew and by half-time, our goalkeeper had not had to make a save.”
“At half-time, we heard Zander Diamond was coming off and that gave us a boost as his aerial threat had been troublesome at Kirkcaldy when they pushed him forward to get back into the game. At the start of the second half, we looked at their bench and there was not too much there to concern us. Our belief grew as Aberdeen fans became restless and then of course, we scored and saw things out.”
Despite the cup success, staying in the First Division remains McGlynn’s priority with the Raith boss adding, “The cup run is great because it gets people talking about Raith Rovers again and of course, it is nice to get this award as recognition however, my job is to have us playing in the First Division again next season.
JIM WEIR (ARBROATH FC)
Jim Weir’s tenure as Arbroath Manager came alive in February as his re-cast side won the two League fixtures played in the month and for the Red Lichties, it was definitely a case of quality over quantity in terms of the triumphs.
The Gayfield men defeated Clyde 2-0 and Dumbarton 3-1 to grab an important six points to bring a welcome smile to their part of Angus.
Weir explained, “It seems strange to get this award after winning only two games but I would assume that the judging panel took into account the importance of our wins and our form leading up to them. We had only played sporadically in January, drawing once and then losing three games in a row with two of those defeats coming in injury time so February was much better.”
The match with the Bully Wee could turn out to be a pivotal moment in Arbroath’s season with Weir saying, “We could have gone bottom if Clyde had won but we came out on top in a hard fought game. Apart from getting us moving up the way and not down, that result gave everyone at the club especially the fans a chance to smile again. That was important as we had not won at home for nearly six months and the confidence from that game helped us against Dumbarton the following week.”
Weir’s side were losing 1-0 to the Sons at half-time but turned things around to win 3-1 to claim another important win with Weir saying, “We had confidence that we could get back into things and that is how it turned out. To achieve back to back wins was really important as we are now chasing East Fife as opposed to worrying about being bottom of the table.”
The former Montrose boss is enjoying his time at Arbroath saying, “I had to make changes as our goals against record was disappointing. We had to learn to shut the back door and build on that. We are getting there and I am delighted as this is a great club to work for.”
“The Directors remained supportive and knew that things could not be turned around overnight. They are good football people and I hope that they like the team I am putting out that has more of a Jim Weir stamp on it these days.”
DICK CAMPBELL (FORFAR ATHLETIC FC)
Forfar Athletic had a fine February with Dick Campbell’s side coming back from two goals down to draw with League leaders Livingston, defeat Berwick Rangers over the border 4-0, snatch a late win over Elgin City and then see off Queen’s Park 3-1 at the National Stadium at Hampden.
The Loons’ form and climb into third place in the table was rewarded with Campbell picking up the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Manager of the Month however, he was keen to share the accolade around.
Campbell said, “This award is a reflection of the effort put in by the players over the last month. They have us moving in the right direction and long may that continue. We re-shaped the squad during January for the challenges ahead and I am delighted at the contribution made by everyone at Forfar, old and new, during this month.”
Twin brother Ian, who is also the Station Park club’s Assistant Manager, took the side when Dick took ill for the game against the Spiders in Glasgow and he may well have to find a place on his mantelpiece for the trophy. Dick said, “I will need to share this one with Ian as he led us to that 3-1 win over a good Queen’s Park side.”
Campbell, Dick that is, last won the award in March, 2009.
STUART NOBLE (ALLOA ATHLETIC FC)
Alloa Athletic striker Stuart Noble’s best form of his career has been rewarded with the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Player of the Month for February. Noble scored five times in four games to put Allan Maitland’s side at the top of the Second Division and the one time Fulham player is delighted.
The 26-year-old started his career at Craven Cottage, making it onto the bench for a Premiership game at Blackburn however, after five years in London and loan spells at St. Johnstone, Woking, Torquay and Northampton Town, Noble headed back to Scotland.
Despite never starting for Fulham, Noble has no regrets saying, “I had a squad number and was involved in a Premiership game which is not the greatest career but it is something to be proud of. I have plenty of memorabilia from my time down there but I was glad to get back home as I was beginning to struggle with injuries.”
Noble joined East Fife however, they never saw the best of him and he took a year out to play with Gala Fairydean to give his body time to recover before moving to Airdrie United in the summer of 2007.
After a successful season in the Second Division, Noble rarely featured for The Diamonds in the First and a loan move to Alloa became permanent last June.
It is a move that he has blossomed from saying, “This is the best goal return of my career and whilst I may be getting the attention with this award, I have to say thank you to my team-mates who have been supplying the goods to Bryan Prunty and I up front.”
The arrival of former Airdrie team-mate Prunty has proven to be a catalyst for Noble who said, “Having Bryan here has helped me enormously and I have to say that the boss Allan Maitland made a great move in bringing him in as he is a goalscorer. Also the boss plays us both through the centre which is different to Airdrie where I was wide left and so far, it has worked very well.”
Noble gave credit to Manager Maitland saying, “The Manager has stuck by me and I am grateful for that. I was not scoring that often in the period leading up to the New Year but he kept faith with me despite having new players to pick from and I am delighted to have repaid some of that during February.”
CALLUM BOOTH (ARBROATH FC – on loan from Hibernian FC)
It has been a rapid rise to fame for on-loan Hibernian youngster Callum Booth at Arbroath where he was named IRN-BRN Phenomenal Young Player of the Month after just two games into his senior career.
The left back said, “I am really enjoying my time at Arbroath and this is a great surprise. I still train at Hibs every day and the boys there are making sure I keep my feet on the ground. They want to know how I could win this award so early into my spell there.”
Booth’s attacking style has been warmly welcomed by the Gayfield faithful and he is delighted that he moved north to get some match action.
The 20-year-old, who was part of the Hibs youth squad that completed a League and Scottish Cup double last season, is relishing the serious nature of games in the SFL saying, “This is my first taste of senior football and I took the opportunity to push myself on in my career and help me at Hibs. When I was asked if I wanted to go on loan, I was not sure what to expect but I have learned a lot already.”
Booth added, “The game is not that much faster than anything I am used to but there is a different nature to it. You are in a team that need to win points to move up the table to avoid relegation and also you need to play well as bonuses depend on it so it is more serious than I am used to. There are also bigger crowds at these games and that takes a bit of getting used to as well.”
Booth made his debut in the Red Lichties 2-0 home win in their bottom of the table clash with Clyde on 13th February and he followed that up with his first goal against Dumbarton a fortnight later that not only secured a fine 3-1 win for his side but ensured that Booth and Manager Weir were recognised last month.
The goal is modestly described by Booth as, “I came inside and things just opened up for me so I thought I would swing my right foot at it.”
The importance of the goal was not lost on the former Scotland Under-19 international who said, “My goal ensured we won that game and that result and the Clyde one has given us confidence that we can catch the teams above us in the table.”