Stirling Albion Manager Greig McDonald won the IRN-BRU SFL Manager of the Month Award for February and he is delighted that this one does not have a novelty factor attached to it.
February’s run of 3 wins and 3 draws means that McDonald’s award is much better earned than the one that the Forthbank boss picked up for October after his side became the first one to defeat Rangers in the Third Division.
That win was an oasis amongst six league defeats, and of course McDonald missed the game as he was getting married that day and he said: “The last award was on the back of beating Rangers and there was a novelty factor to it as I was also getting married and was not at the game. I did not feel that it was fully earned so this one feels better earned.”
McDonald added: “As a result it means more and the players can enjoy it as well as it has been won on the back of a substantial run of good form including a draw against Rangers this time. Five wins three draws and only 1 defeat to a deflected goal is a decent run.”
“The changes we made to the squad in January have proven to be the right ones and hopefully we can kick on further. The confidence in the squad is good and the players showed in the 9-1 win over East Stirlingshire last weekend what they are capable of.
Winning an award for winning one game is just another story in amongst a memorable period in the Scottish game with McDonald saying: “It has been a crazy season when you look at the fact that Rangers are in the Third Division anyway. We had a terrible start with only 2 wins in 13 games and one of those was the Rangers win.”
“We have turned it around and we now have an outside chance of the play-offs mind you it is so crazy just now that every team in the league thinks that now. Everything changes very dramatically every week so I just think only about the next game. We will look at things at ten to five after game 36 and if we are in the top 4 then great.”
“No point at looking at things in too much detail just now as we are closer to the bottom with a 4 point gap than we are at to the play-offs with an 8 point gap.”
Berwick have soared into the play-offs on the back of a 3 game winning run and McDonald said: “Berwick beat us with a deflected free kick with 3 minutes left and then went on to beat Montrose and Queen’s Park to move into fourth place. They are unbeaten in 5 games and that shows what a bit of luck and a decent run can do for you.”
McDonald’s Award is also special as it marks him taking a further step away from the brink of being the most under pressure manager in the SFL that he was last autumn. That pressure was coming to a head and intensified when he gave away a last minute penalty that saw Queen’s Park earn a 2-1 win at Hampden.
“That was a really disappointing night and whilst we all make mistakes that one really hurt us that night,” said McDonald before adding, “We had injuries, illness and suspensions and struggled to field a team but the boys came back from a goal down to grab a 1-1 draw. Then I dived in and gave away a penalty that killed us.”
McDonald added: “I was under pressure at the time and that was a real low point as were the next few days. You have to drive yourself on after that and being bottom and having everyone write us off was a great motivation.”
“Now people talk about us reaching the play-offs and the Exec Board deserve credit for their help as the easy thing would have been to pull the trigger on me. They wanted to stick by my assistant Marc McCulloch and I and they helped us change things around in January. Hopefully there are better times ahead for us all.”