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    Challenge Cup Preview v. Dundee 

    Saturday, July 26, 2008 6:10:37 AM


    Here we are again at the start of a new season and I’d like to welcome everyone to the “Recs” and thank you for your support today. It doesn’t seem that long since we suffered the disappointment of failing to hang on to our lead at Broadwood and losing out on promotion to the First Division – what a magnificent following we had that day when our fans backed the team throughout. Strangely enough an Alloa fan asked me at Oban if our aim is “as always” to make sure we stay away from relegation and “avoid promotion” which would keep us in a comfort zone. My response to that is simple – 1) did you not see the team in the two legs against Clyde when quite frankly they gave everything they had and would probably have succeeded if Brown Ferguson didn’t have to come off. 2) We have strengthened our squad again during the summer to try and bridge the gap between 4th place and promotion and 3) our board are desperate for the club to give the town the best team we can, which includes promotion. I am delighted to have added Pat Scullion, Dougie Hill and Iain Campbell to our squad – Pat is a player I have been very keen on signing for two years now and offers a real contrast to our existing midfield players, Dougie is a strong centre back who I expect to help make us better defensively and rectify the fact that we conceded far too many goals last season (I cant believe we released a player of his ability) and Iain Campbell is a high energy left back with great delivery into the box who impressed me hugely in our first match against Ross County last season and again who I expect to make us better defensively. While I was pleased with the squad I felt that our early training sessions and games at Oban showed that we relied too much on Kyle MacAulay and Andy Scott to create something special in the games, which is a big ask considering Kyle was injured for the first 5 months of last season and Andy spent the same period at Cumbernauld Juniors – their contribution to our run in the last 12 games was superb but it’s still a lot to ask. Dougie Wilson’s injury and Scott Agnew leaving had left a void that needed to be filled. That void has now been filled with the return of Jamie Stevenson who will again be a fantastic player for this club. His attitude to the game is superb, his determination to win is never in question and his ability will make him the best player in the 2nd division. I now feel that we are well equipped to challenge the best teams in our league, which I expect to be Brechin, East Fife, Raith Rovers and Ayr United.  We have made one other significant signing – that of Jim Law who is our new Physio. Jim was here previously and has the experience and qualifications to give the players every opportunity of being ready for a Saturday. Jim replaces Vanessa who runs her own business in Dollar and leaves with our best wishes. 
    My original welcome is of course extended to Alex Rae, Davie Farrell, the players, directors and supporters of today’s opponents Dundee FC who suffered their own disappointment at the end of last season when they finished second to a very good Hamilton Accies side. Despite losing talented players in the summer (particularly Scott Robertson and Kevin McDonald) they appear to have strengthened the squad by adding Rab Douglas, Jim Lauchlan, Colin Cameron, Eric Paton and the impressive duo of Derek Young and Mark Gilhaney. I know there will, as always, be a strong challenge from St Johnstone and Dunfermline and possible either Ross County or Queens of the South, but I fancy Dundee to succeed where they narrowly failed last season – Good luck Alex.
    Euro 2008 was excellent and kept us all entertained during the summer – lets hope that both Dundee and ourselves manage to keep you entertained today and throughout the season. 
    Allan Maitland - Team Manager

    Managers Corner