The winners for November are:
- FIRST DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: JIM McINTYRE (DUNFERMLINE ATHLETIC FC)
- SECOND DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: DANNY LENNON (COWDENBEATH FC)
- THIRD DIVISION MANAGER OF THE MONTH: GARY BOLLAN (LIVINGSTON FC)
- PLAYER OF THE MONTH: JONNY HAYES (INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE FC)
- YOUNG PLAYER OF THE MONTH: KEAGHAN JACOBS (LIVINGSTON FC)
JIM MCINTYRE (DUNFERMLINE ATHLETIC FC)
Dunfermline Athletic boss Jim McIntyre was able to celebrate his second anniversary of being in charge of the Pars in fine style by collecting the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Manager of the Month award. The East End Park club won both their games in the month, seeing off local rivals Raith Rovers 2-1 at Kirkcaldy and promotion chasing Partick Thistle 3-1 on their own turf.
The two wins added to a fine five game unbeaten run in October with McIntyre praising his support staff for their help in the run saying, “My two years in charge has been a great learning curve for me off the park and I am lucky to have a great backroom team, who have a very strong work ethic and give everything they can to drive Dunfermline forward. We have brought in some really exciting players during my time and it is all beginning to gel quite nicely.”
McIntyre was asked what had brought the turnaround in his side after a sluggish start to the 2009/10 campaign and he advised, “Earlier this season, we were making far too many individual errors at the back and teams were punishing us for them. We are now defending better and that has given us a much stronger platform to attack teams. We have put together a decent string of results and got ourselves back in the pack in the top half of the table.”
The victories in November mean that McIntyre’s men can now be classed as promotion seeking candidates with the win at Stark’s Park having given the Dunfermline players and Manager a feel for what life chasing the League Championship would be like.
McIntyre explained, “That was a great football game with over 6,000 fans there and an electric atmosphere. To come from a goal down and to win the game with a last minute goal was a bit special and one that the fans will savour for a long time. More of the same would be great for everyone connected with Dunfermline Athletic.”
DANNY LENNON (COWDENBEATH FC)
Most Managers would probably rest content with their team sitting at the top of the table, a nine game unbeaten run and picking up their second IRN-BRU Phenomenal Manager of the Month award in a row however, Cowdenbeath’s Danny Lennon is not like most Managers.
Lennon’s Blue Brazil built on their four wins and a draw during September to defeat Clyde 1-0, Dumbarton 2-1 and to draw with previous leaders Stirling Albion 2-2 at Forthbank and participate in a goalless draw with Alloa Athletic on Active Nation Scottish Cup duty however, 39-year-old Lennon knows that he and his side are far from the finished article.
Lennon spent four days last week at Real Valladolid in the north of Spain undertaking another component of his two year quest to complete his UEFA Pro-Licence Coaching Qualification. The former Northern Ireland ‘B’ International player, who started his playing career at Hibernian some 22 years ago, learned new things as well as being reassured that management is pretty much the same no matter what club and what part of Europe you are in.
Lennon explained, “When I started doing the Pro-Licence, I was Assistant Manager at Cowdenbeath and I know that my studies have helped me develop since then. As well as tactics and things like that, I am a much better man manager now than I was then. One of the things I have learnt is to devote plenty of time to the players that are not in your starting line up as they need to keep being encouraged and involved.”
One of the other changes Lennon has recognised in himself is that he is happy to identify weaknesses in himself and his players in order that they can be improved. The Central Park gaffer advised, “In Scotland, you tend to have the attitude that you only work on your strengths and that will be good enough. I do not believe in that anymore and work on my own and players’ weaknesses all the time. You may never turn them into being as good as your strengths but you will become a stronger Manager or player.”
Cowdenbeath fans can relax, as despite Lennon’s trips to Europe to converse with the likes of former Swedish National Manager Lars Lagerback and former Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, along with rubbing shoulders with the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Ricky Sbragia and Kevin Keegan over the past couple of days as he completed his latest week of training, he has no plans to move on.
Lennon explained, “Don’t get me wrong, I am ambitious and would love to eventually manage a big full time team, but I am far from the finished article and there is a lot for me still to do at Cowdenbeath. They gave me a start in management and I am really grateful for that. I learnt in Valladolid that I do much the same as their Manager although the difference is in scale. It was reassuring when we went through the infrastructure of the club that Jose Luis Mendilibar manages from the youth set-up to marketing that there was nothing I did not recognise. I carry many of the tasks Mendilibar has people to do for him, but at least I know I am doing the right things.”
GARY BOLLAN (LIVINGSTON FC)
Livingston’s pursuit of the Third Division title continued in fine style during November with ten goals scored, two conceded, nine points gathered from three wins and no defeats. Elgin City were demolished 6-1 at Borough Briggs, Queen’s Park seen off 2-1 at Hampden before Albion Rovers went back home to Coatbridge after a 2-0 defeat at Almondvale.
Manager Gary Bollan was rewarded for a fine month by collecting his second successive IRN-BRU Phenomenal Manager of the Month award and he beamed, “It is great to get another award and credit to the players for the performances they turned in during the month. Winning has been great but so has the level of performance and it is great to win well by playing nice and simple football.”
The catalyst for the win at Hampden was Keaghan Jacobs’ opening goal where Bollan’s men defended a corner from the Spiders before galloping to the other end of the pitch with Liam Fox, Jacobs and Robbie Winters exchanging passes before the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Young Player of the Month shot home in fine style.
Bollan was asked if that goal epitomised what he was trying to achieve and he agreed, “Yes, nice simple football with great movement and great control. Four passes over 80 yards and then a goal, you cannot fail to like a goal like that.”
KEAGHAN JACOBS (LIVINGSTON FC)
The Co-operative Insurance League Insider predicted big things for Keaghan Jacobs two months ago and the 20-year-old attacking midfielder earned the title of IRN-BRU Phenomenal Young Player of the Month after grabbing four goals in three League games during November.
The eldest of the four Jacobs brothers at Almondvale scored a double at Borough Briggs against Elgin in their half dozen goal haul, broke the deadlock against Queen’s Park at Hampden and then accepted a pass from younger brother Kyle, one of the triplets signed to the club, to finish off Albion Rovers.
Jacobs said, “I have started adding goals to my game recently and to score four last month was great. I would love to keep adding to that tally.”
The eldest sibling has enjoyed having Kyle playing along side him and hopes that both Devon and Sheldon make the step up during the season saying, “Kyle is beginning to get established in the first team pool and actually came on for me in a game recently as a substitute. Hopefully, my two other brothers are not that far away from joining us.”
JONNY HAYES (INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE FC)
Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s dashing winger, Jonny Hayes, has been named as the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Player of the Month with his dazzling display in The ALBA Challenge Cup Final against Dundee being pivotal in his success.
Hayes was instrumental in helping the Highlanders to a two goal half time lead and although things unravelled in the second half as the Dark Blues hit back to lift the trophy, the Dublin born 22-year-old is pleased to be recognised.
Hayes explained, “I had been a substitute in the two games prior to the Cup Final and my performances must have been good. I came on at Ross County and helped us get back into the game although we eventually lost, and then against Airdrie it was 1-0 when I came on and two nil by the end so I must have done enough to earn a start against Dundee. We were excellent in the first half of the Cup Final and this award makes up for some of the disappointment that happened in the second half.”
“I also scored against Partick so it was not too poor a month overall for me.”
Hayes signed a one year deal in the summer when he moved up from Leicester City and he is enjoying his stay in Inverness saying, “I love it and settled in straight away. I moved in with Dougie Imrie so it is not a very quiet house. I did not know much about The ALBA Challenge Cup beforehand but to play well in the Final and for that performance to play a part in winning this award is great. The Cup Final was a real highlight in the season so far, with a big build up and a huge crowd on the day and two great teams going all out for a win.”
Inverness face Raith Rovers this weekend with Hayes out to play his part in his side’s drive to be more consistent saying, “We know that we have reached great heights and then great depths in the same game and we have been working hard on the training field to sort it. I will be happy with keeping my starting place and a win over Raith Rovers will put us right back into things and that has to be our aim.”