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Friday 17th February 2012

IRN-BRU SFL Phenomenal Awards - January 2012

The IRN-BRU SFL Phenomenal Award winners have been named for the month of January. After much debate, a judging panel consisting of respresentatives from the Scottish media decided upon the winners.



Falkirk FC Manager, Steven PressleyFalkirk’s performance on and off the park in January was recognised when manager Steven Pressley was awarded the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Manager of the Month Award for the First Division.

The Bairns kept tabs on league leaders Ross County throughout the month and also knocked East Fife out of the Scottish Cup, however there were two major other reasons that Pressley was voted as the winner.

The positive performance his side put in against Celtic in the Scottish Communities League Cup Semi-Final as well as the over half a million pounds generated through the sale of Murray Wallace and Kallum Higginbotham to Huddersfield Town sealed the deal for the Falkirk Stadium boss.

Pressley said, “It was a very good January both on and off the park. Our young players have advanced their reputations further and this Award is a great piece of recognition for them as well.”

“The sale of players was very prosperous for us and it reflects a fundamental part of what Falkirk is about. It was very beneficial to us in terms of bringing money in and it also shows the development that we can give players as well as a providing a platform to allow them to show what they can do.”

The cash generated was not unexpected with Pressley adding, “Their moves are very much in line with the Financial Model that we work to and a lot of people deserve credit for making it work. Our Technical Director Alex Smith remains a great support to me and Neil MacFarlane as well as Stevie Crawford have come in this season and been terrific with the players and I. Of course so do the scouts who identify the players to bring here.”

Despite their 3-1 reverse at Hampden to Celtic, Pressley is proud of the performance of his players saying, “We might have secured a better result against Rangers earlier in the Scottish Communities League Cup but the Celtic game showed the progress we have made to a greater extent. Against Rangers we had to tighten things up tactically as we were not ready to play them in an open way whereas against Celtic we could.”

“We went out and played our natural game which emphasised how far we have travelled in a short space of time.”


Dumbarton manager Alan Adamson headed for Forfar on Tuesday night with the IRN-BRU Second Division Manager of the Month Award for January in his kit bag. The Sons boss was given the honour after picking up three wins in a row to start 2012 positively with a fourth win against Stenhousemuir earned at the weekend.

Dumbarton FC Manager, Alan AdamsonAdamson praised the unlikely pairing of the youthful Jack Ross and the experienced Jim Gallacher for the roles they have played in building up the fitness and team-spirit of a Dumbarton squad that have emerged as contenders for a promotion play-off place.

“I am delighted with this Award,” said Adamson before adding, “But it is recognition for everybody at the club. The players who cross the white line and do the business for me have been great as have my coaching team of Jack and Jim.”

“Jack has made a difference with his SPL professionalism that has enhanced our training and being a defender himself he has helped tighten things up at the back. Jim is well known for his two decades as the goalkeeper at Clydebank and also being the dad of Paul Gallacher who plays for Scotland and Dunfermline but he is a great coach as well.”

Adamson added, “He is over 60 now and we joke with him that he uses a bus pass to get to training and games but he has been out in all weathers in the past couple of months working our goalkeepers. He is great with them and having just signed a young French lad as back up to Stephen Grindlay we have told Jim that he has to learn a bit of French now as well.”

“Jim has been the goalkeeping coach at Dumbarton for years and rarely gets a mention but he is at every training session throwing himself about. He played for Clydebank over 600 times and he has been a great servant to the game.”

Ross may have helped Dumbarton tighten up defensively and improve their fitness but it sounds like his older colleague is the one that has helped the team-spirit that saw the Sons score last minute winners in all 3 games in January with Adamson adding, “Jim is a very droll character and we are not sure if he is Jack or Victor from Still Game but the players love him. I want to thank him for his help in getting this Award.”

Adamson added, “Everyone at the club has played a part in this Award and as well as the other guys I have mentioned I would include the Chairman and the Board who work really hard on behalf of the club. The manager is a figurehead when awards like this are given out or when things are not going well.”

Nearly eighteen months into his role at the club Adamson said, “I have enjoyed my time and this is my Second Award. I won one last year at the same time as Jon McShane did for scoring a few goals for us and I had been hoping he would be back with us by now but he opted to go on loan at full time Hamilton.  You cannot grumble about him doing that.”

The timing of the Award made Adamson chuckle as he explained, “I read what Jim Weir was saying when he won December’s award and I agreed with everything he said about things clicking together. Like Brechin we are almost a new side and it takes a bit of time to settle into that.”

“We had 9 new signings and 5 loan players join us and that is a lot of change as it takes times to know each other and for things to gel. Brechin and Dumbarton were competing for the same players in the summer and some joined us and some joined them so it looks like we are coming together at much the same time.”


Five wins in five games and stretching an unbeaten league run to 15 games was more than enough for Alloa boss Paul Hartley to be awarded the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Manager of the Month Award for January.

Alloa Athletic FC Manager, Paul HartleyHartley said, “If you are going to win games you are in with a chance of an award and it is great for the club that I have picked up this one. As importantly it is great for the players to see their hard work being recognised.”

“They have worked diligently since the first day of pre-season and I am pleased with where we are.”

Being pleased is probably an understatement as the Wasps sit 9 points clear of second placed Stranraer and look good for a quick return to the Second Division following relegation via the Play-offs last May.

Hartley is however keeping everyone’s feet on the ground saying, “You want success but it is not always guaranteed. There is still a long way to go and we are in a good position but that is all it is, a good position. It is an old cliché but we are taking things one game at a time.”

The 25 times capped midfielder is enjoying his first managerial appointment and 8 months into life at Recreation Park he advised, “We are a more settled side than we were at the start of the season. We look to have the balance and formation right with the players doing things in a style that we like.”

“We have the park to play good football with a cracking artificial surface and that is what we are trying to do. Five wins in a month was great but every game is hard. To beat our three main promotion rivals in the month was good going.”

The introduction of loan signing Stevie May to the Alloa front-line in January looks to have been a masterstroke by Hartley with the Perth youngster contributing  9 goals in 9 games and his Clackmannanshire manager said, “I tried for Stevie in the summer but it never happened, however he did not play a lot of football for St Johnstone so I went back in for him again. It was a move that was in the best interests of everyone as he is playing regularly and so many goals in a short period of time is fantastic.”

“You are only as good as your strikers.”

Hartley has mellowed during his short managerial reign as he explained, “We have been beaten twice and drawn a few and I felt really low after these games. I would be really high after a win and I am much more in-between now.”

The approach to part-time players has also changed with Hartley saying, “You have to be more patient with the guys than you would be in a SPL environment. By that I mean you have to invest heavily in ensuring that you have got your ideas over and understood as you only have them for a short time.”

“I had never been part-time in my playing career but I am now working with the guys 2 nights a week. They are asked to be in at half past six to start training at seven and sometimes work or traffic problems get in the way of that.”

Hartley added, “You have to give them a bit of leeway during the week, however a Saturday is different. There are no excuses on a Saturday though, they are just the same as full timers on a Saturday.”


Stevie May’s 8 goal blast in January saw the Alloa striker create history as he became the first player to win the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Player of the Month, IRN-BRU Phenomenal Young Player of the Month and the IRN-BRU Ginger Boot in the one go.

Alloa Athletic's Stevie MayThe on-loan St. Johnstone front man has been a team-mate of the player who has come closest to the feat as winger Willie McLaren won both the Player and Young Player of the Month some 8 years ago when he was an Airdrie United player.

May said, “I played with Willie in a couple of reserve games when I was a youngster at St. Johnstone so it is good to more than match what he has done.”

The haul further vindicates May’s decision to move to join the Wasps temporarily as he explained, “It is good to be playing football and it is great to get awards for it. To be recognised in this way is fantastic and this is a really enjoyable time of my career as I am scoring a few goals as well.”

“It is a good set up at Alloa and I started with a goal in December and then I hit a hat-trick on January 2 and that was me really off and running and I scored 9 times in 9 games which is a great ratio.”

May had been tracked by Recreation Park manager Paul Hartley during the summer before finally making the switch in December although the 19-year-old was unaware of his interest as he said, “I have heard that only recently but in the summer I was just looking to build on what had happened at the end of last season when I got a run in the first team. It was disappointing when I did not feature more as I had got Man of the Match in my first game against Motherwell and then scored two against Hamilton Accies but it I suppose it was not easy to keep that going once I was no longer an unknown quantity.”

The move to Clackmannanshire has put a spring back in May’s step as he explained, “Getting back to playing every week was the main thing and of course scoring goals. My contract is up at the end of the season and I am still very much a St. Johnstone player as I train there every day and with Alloa on a Thursday . We will see how things go later on.”

May is to be applauded for moving down the Divisions to prove his worth and it has not been easy as he explained, “It is not easy to play in the SFL and you get a few bumps and bangs in the Third Division but that is part and parcel of why I am here.”

Steven May (centre) is congratulated on his goal for Alloa“Alloa play a lot of good football and we have a number of players who could play at a higher level. The move to the Third Division did not worry me and it is a lot more important to be playing regularly than getting 10 minutes here and there as a substitute.”

The Perth born player has earned a nickname at his new club and ‘The Alloa Puyol’ said, “I used to get slated for my long hair but not as much now. Put it this way I would be giving a player with my hair a lot more abuse than I get. I have let it grow as I could not be bothered getting it cut and it probably needs a trim now.”

“I wore a head band in a couple of games recently and never scored in the first half so I took it off. I scored in the second so the head band will not be getting worn again.”

Finally May is out to impress two managers before the season ends as he said, “I want to impress both Paul and Steve Lomas as helping Alloa to do well and earn an extended contract with St. Johnstone are my twin goals. The Saints have watched me in a few games but thankfully I am fortunate that I can put it to the back of mind and get on with things.”