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    Preview of Ayr United game 

    Thursday, August 07, 2008 6:27:53 PM

    Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the “Recs” where we entertain Ayr United for our first home league game of the season. I’m pretty sure that Brian Reid and Scott McKenzie will have been disappointed only to draw with Raith Rovers last Saturday but I can assure them that their feelings are no where near the disappointment that we experienced at Arbroath when we were well and truly trounced in a performance that I just didn’t expect. We started poorly and got worse as the game progressed and to be fair Arbroath played really well and thoroughly deserved their win. After analysing our performance, on a day when every player was below par, I believe that the defeat was my fault and that the players were not given the correct preparation for the game. While the result was difficult to take at the time, and still lingers in my mind, I hope to now use last week’s game as an indication and a guideline for what not to do for future long away days.

    With that defeat, today’s game with Ayr United becomes even more important if we want to get a decent start to our season. We have now won our two cup ties against Dundee and Elgin, but it’s our league form that will be important to us in the coming weeks. Last season we were bottom of the league after five games despite winning 4 – 1 at Peterhead on the opening day, and we need to show a marked improvement if we’re to avoid the same fate this year.
    Brian Reid has built an impressive squad over the summer and brought in some very talented players, namely: Chris Aitken (Stirling Albion), Bryan Prunty (Airdrie), Scott Walker (Brechin), Stephen Grindlay (Queen of the South), Dean Keenan (Morton), Allan Dempsie (Elgin City), Ryan Borris (Raith Rovers), David Gormley (Glenafton) and of course our own Scott Agnew. Scott was superb with us last season, his contribution was hugely influential in our success, and he developed into a very mature player as the season progressed – we were sorry to see him leave but fully understand that Prestwick to Ayr is a lot more convenient and practical than travelling to Alloa at least twice a week. As I said he did really well with us and I hope we give him a decent homecoming reception, which understandably is not always the case with players returning. It’s no secret that I am a great admirer of Chris Aitken as a football player and believe that he may well be the best signing of any of the second division teams this close season (other than Pat, Iain, Dougie and Jamie of course!). “Tiff” is one of a rare bread of players who can control a game single handed with his vision of passes and ability to score vital goals and he will be a great asset to Ayr United. With Bryan Prunty and Alex Williams up front Ayr have potentially the most potent strike force in the division, which will give their fans and directors the belief that they can be right up there challenging for the title.
    After Saturday we were delighted to be playing again on Tuesday night, which gave us the opportunity to get the disappointment out of our system quickly. The game was as expected, a struggle for quite a while, but the introduction of Kyle MacAulay and Andy Scott helped to settle us down and we finally managed to win comfortably with goals from Andy and Frannie Kelly (Scot Buist is claiming the second goal but I’m not convinced he got a touch so I’m going with the papers - sorry Scot).
    The injury to Iain Campbell has been a blow but we hope to have him back soon. Iain also suffered the loss of his uncle who died suddenly this week and I wish to offer my sincere condolences to Iain and his family – there are times when football can act as a relief from family grieving or personal loss and we will give Iain the opportunity to use that when he feels ready.
    I hope you all enjoy today’s game and that we give all Alloa fans the victory they desire.
    Allan Maitland - Team Manager

    Managers Corner