The IRN-BRU SFL 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.
- IRN-BRU PHENOMENAL FIRST DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: STEVEN PRESSLEY (FALKIRK)
- IRN-BRU PHENOMENAL SECOND DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: ALAN ADAMSON (DUMBARTON)
- IRN-BRU PHENOMENAL THIRD DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: ROSS JACK (ELGIN CITY)
- IRN-BRU PHENOMENAL PLAYER OF THE MONTH: STEVEN DORIS (ARBROATH)
- IRN-BRU PHENOMENAL YOUNG PLAYER OF THE MONTH: ANDY RYAN (HAMILTON ACCIES)
- IRN-BRU GINGER BOOT WINNER: LEWIS COULT (COWDENBEATH)
IRN-BRU PHENOMENAL FIRST DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: STEVEN PRESSLEY (FALKIRK)
Bairns boss Steven Pressley picked up his fourth IRN-BRU Phenomenal First Division Manager of the Month Award of the season and he thanked his players for their consistency and maturity as they have undoubtedly helped him gain his quartet of honours.
Pressley said, “I have picked up three of these awards on my own and shared one with Derek Adams and winning four shows that we have achieved a high degree of consistency this season.”
“We have worked very hard at developing the players at Falkirk and developing a philosophy in terms of how we do things and the players have shown great maturity in how they have taken things on board. It has been an incredible growth in a short period of time.”
The former Scottish internationalist immerses himself in football in terms of planning the development of his squad as he said, “I was speaking to Paul Hegarty recently and I told me that it took Jim McLean 8 years to build a side that won things at Dundee United and I was reading about the great Leeds manager, Don Revie and it took him 7 years. It takes time to build a culture and we have taken great strides in building ours recently.”
Part of the dangers in building a squad full of potential is that clubs can come in and entice players away and Pressley has a pragmatic way of dealing with that issue as he explained, “We want to build a team but we are realistic enough to know that we needed a strategy that catered for that. We want to keep a nucleus of the squad together but if clubs come in with an offer that is good for the club and the player then we have to deal with that.”
“We want to have players ready to take anyone who leaves us ready and waiting in the wings but if we don’t we have shown that we can recruit well. Michael McGovern and Darren Dods are two players that have come in and boosted our squad and Kallum Higginbotham did the same before he earned his move to Huddersfield.”
Pressley added, “I really have to thank the players for how they have gone about things this season as their progress has been great.”
IRN-BRU PHENOMENAL SECOND DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: ALAN ADAMSON (DUMBARTON)
Dumbarton’s fine form in the first 2 months of 2012 was rewarded for a second time as manager Alan Adamson picked up the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Manager of the Month Award for February to add to his January Award.
Adamson praised his players for the lengths they went to in order that they could move into third place, however the lengths that people go to in football is nothing new to the former Manager of the British Police Force team.
The Sons won eight and drew two of their ten games in the opening two months, however their unbeaten run ended last Tuesday night against leaders Cowdenbeath, although Adamson had nothing but praise for his players despite that recent reverse.
Adamson said, “We were on a great run but it went last Tuesday but I cannot criticise the players at all. Team spirit took us through those games and also saw us nick some late goals in games as well.”
That spirit saw players refusing to rest with Adamson saying, “You normally look to make changes when you have so many games in such a short period of time but I had players in my Office telling me that they were loving it and wanted to keep going.”
“I won this Award last February as well when we played a lot of games as well. There is nothing better for players than winning games. Niggling injuries clear up whereas if you lose a few games they are maybe not so keen. Mark Gilhaney hid the fact he had been ill for 2 days to play against Stenhousemuir last midweek and went out and scored.”
Adamson added, “He lasted an hour and did not know whether to be pleased with him or angry. Maybe Tuesday night was one trip to the well too much for everyone.”
Going to great lengths in football is nothing new to Adamson who spent a decade in charge of the Police team and it was not just players covering up illness or injury that he had to worry about then.
Adamson explained, “We had a number of professionals or ex-professionals in our ranks like Mark Fulton and Dave Beaumont who combined a career in the police with playing. We also had guys who played in the Ryman League down south and we qualified for the European Finals that were held every 4 years.”
“Greece won it one of the times but they were so desperate to win it they had a team of professionals in it and none of them were Police Officers. The title was taken off them.”
IRN-BRU PHENOMENAL THIRD DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: ROSS JACK (ELGIN CITY)
Elgin City’s rise into the promotion Play-Off zone after an unbeaten February where they won four games and drew twice was recognised yesterday when Manager Ross Jack was awarded the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Third Division Manager of the Month Award.
Jack reckons that the award is another sign that the one-time former giant of the Highland League is slowly getting awoken from its 12 year slumber in the SFL and is on course for a historic first ever promotion Play-Off berth.
Jack said, “Nobody is counting any chickens but there is a fantastic potential at this club and we are beginning to see that getting realised with good results on the pitch and more fans turning up to watch games as well.”
“The club had great crowds back in the Highland League days and when Elgin first started playing in the SFL but it all went quite quiet after a few seasons. We now have had over 3,000 fans turn up in total for our last 4 home games and in these harsh economic times that is a great sign that supporters welcome the relative success we have had recently.”
Jack was appointed as manager at Borough Briggs in January 2009 and has picked up two Awards last season, however they came earlier on and receiving February’s trophy confirms that a Highland push for promotion is being sustained.
The former striker said, “I have been here for 3 years and I said when I was appointed that it would take that time at least to have a team established that could challenge. We are still a work in progress but we now have good building blocks in place. We have a strong Youth and Community Programme and players progressing to the First Team.”
“We are a young side, well apart from my playing assistant Barry Wilson, but Barry and I have worked hard at turning things around and we have been backed by the Chairman Graham Tatters and the Board well.”
The key to success could still remain with the fans that are slowly helping to revive the club with Jack adding, “It is a two way thing as if we play well and win games they will come out and back us. We need them to back us to help us play well and win games so we need each other.”
IRN-BRU PHENOMENAL PLAYER OF THE MONTH: STEVEN DORIS (ARBROATH)
Arbroath striker Steven Doris’ fine run of goalscoring in February has been recognised as he was selected as the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Player of the Month for February after hitting six goals for the Red Lichties.
The 23-year-old, who grabbed goals against Stirling Albion, Brechin City and Stenhousemuir as well as a treble against Forfar, is happy to be paying back a club and manager that recused a career that was in the doldrums.
Doris said, “It has been a good month as we were unbeaten and I scored a few including a hat-trick in a Derby game. Goals always feel more important in Derby games so to get 3 against Forfar was fantastic.”
The former St. Johnstone kid reckons that his former Perth team-mate Paul Sheerin has been key to both his success and that of an Arbroath side that sit second in their first season in the Second Division following promotion.
Doris said, “I had been offered a deal to re-sign for Arbroath in the summer of 2010 but I put off signing it until I knew who the new manager was going to be. As soon as I knew it was Paul I signed it.”
“I knew him from my days in Perth and reckoned that he liked me as a player and thankfully that has been a case.”
It has not been a case of sitting back and letting their friendship develop with Doris saying, “Paul has changed me as he recognised that I was not fit enough. He has helped get me into good shape and hopefully I have repaid him with some goals.”
“I had struggled after going part-time and to be honest I had lost interest a bit in football but Arbroath gave me a lifeline and Paul has given me that interest back. I have the chance to do well in the game again after letting my head go down when I did not make it first time as a full time player.”
Whilst he is no hurry to leave Gayfield Doris added, “The manager says that a few of us can go on and be full timers, he does not say who but I am hoping I am one of the one he means. We are a young side with a lot of boys that did not make it at St Johnstone and perhaps we all have a point to prove.”
Doris reckons that one day Sheerin will also make the step up saying, “He could manage at a higher level as he has been successful with Arbroath in securing their first ever title and having us challenging for the Second.”
“If full time clubs are looking for a new manager in the future I am sure they will be looking at him. If that ever happens hopefully he will take all his former St Johnstone boys with him again.”
IRN-BRU PHENOMENAL YOUNG PLAYER OF THE MONTH: ANDY RYAN (HAMILTON ACCIES)
February was a fine month for 17-year-old Hamilton striker Andy Ryan as he was eventually awarded his first senior goal and then followed that up with two more to be selected as the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Young Player of the Month.
Ryan netted a late equaliser for the Accies at Dundee last month only to find out that the goal had been given to a team-mate, “My first goal came at Dens Park when I came on as a substitute with about 8 minutes to go and we were getting beat 2-1. The manager told me to go out and make a nuisance of myself and I scored not long after that. However it came over the tannoy that it was Jon Routledge that scored and it also went over that way to Sky Sports.”
“I did not know about it until after the game but can you imagine how it felt to score your first goal and then find out that it had been given to someone else. Credit to the club’s Secretary Scott Struthers as he went around making sure everyone knew it was that me that scored.”
Ryan followed that goal up with two in two separate games against Morton and he is now enjoying an extended run in their first team squad as he explained, “I made my debut in the Ramsdens Cup semi-final against Livingston and hopefully I will keep my place long enough to be involved in the Final. I scored against Morton after coming off the bench and then I scored against them again when I started. I think it was important to do that as I did not want to be seen as just an impact substitute and I have started 8 games now.”
“It is great to be involved and every time I get 90 minutes under my belt I feel I am improving. The experienced guys like big Mark McLaughlin and Alex Neil have been great to me.”
The striker has been with the New Douglas Park club since he was 10 and he reckons he is at the perfect club to be given a chance as he explained, “I played Boys Club football in Clydebank where I am from and then came through the Club’s Pro-Youth system. Hamilton are always good to young players and the manager believes if you are good enough you are old enough.”
“I knew James McCarthy and James McArthur from a young age and they were good guys to be around. They would talk to you when you are in doing your duties about the club and great players to learn from. It is a real inspiration to me to see who well they have done.”
Ryan may yet prove to be the answer to Hamilton’s lack of goals that has hindered their progress in the First Division this season with the youngster saying, “It is no secret that we have not scored often enough and also our home form has not been great but if we can get these things sorted we will be right near the top. We have the players to be right near the top.”
The teenager is hoping to have another first tonight when he lines up in a Friday Night Football game as Accies travel to Livingston with Ryan saying, “I was not involved when we beat Thistle 1-0 back in January but hopefully I will be this time.”
IRN-BRU GINGER BOOT WINNER: LEWIS COULT (COWDENBEATH)
One of the Second Division’s most colourful characters, Cowdenbeath striker Lewis Coult, picked up the IRN-BRU Ginger Boots for February following a six goal blast, and he cannot wait to wear the bright orange and blue footwear.
Coult scored against a hat-trick and a single against Stirling and a double against Albion Rovers to pick up his win and he was quick to shoot down claims one of his treble was an own goal.
The 23-year-old said, “That was my first ever treble and it felt really good. There was a bit of dubiety about the first goal with some people trying to say it was an own goal but I was not having that.”
Coult signed for the Fifers just over a year ago after dropping down to the Juniors after not making the grade as a youngster as he explained, “I had been at Hamilton Accies and Berwick Rangers when I was younger but I did not feature enough. I fell out of love with football and actually went over to spend some time with my Dad who lives in Miami. I started playing for a team out there called Miami All-Stars and we trained every day in good weather and it was a great experience.”
“I came back and started playing with my pals and that ended up in me signing for Arniston Rangers. I had a six month spell with them that really got me fired up again. The step back up took a bit of time but I think I have adapted now and I have the benefit of a good pre-season behind me now as well.”
The big striker added, “We play with only one striker so it is a hard shift as my job is to keep hold of the ball and bring others into play.”
Colin Cameron’s side have led the Second Division since October and Coult is determined that they stay there as he explained, “We want to kick on now and win the league but we will take every game as it comes. Hopefully I can get a few more goals, I am on 13 now and that is my best ever return and hopefully these new boots will help me.”
“I love flashy boots, in fact the flashier the better as far as I concerned. The Hibs striker Gary O’Connor is a big pal of mine and he normally gets me boots but he does not have a pair of these.”