Milton Rovers finished at the top of the table after a brilliant, competitive season in the LFDA Section A League. They finished on 43 points after only suffering 3 losses during the season. Closely following was Blantrye SAC on 41 points, an intense season throughout which was brought down to the wire. We caught up with the coach of Milton Rovers, Joe McCallum, to find out how they did it.
After working hard through the whole season, facing trials and tribulations, nothing comes close to the feeling of winning it all. Joe said this about his teams feelings towards the league win. "We are absolutely over the moon, what an amazing end to a brilliant season. All the boys and coaches couldn't be happier." They had a tough season, and didn't dominate the league, which made it all the better for everyone involved. Each game required hard work and dedication to the game and each victory was fought hard.
After a spectacular season, the favourite moment for Joe came naturally when asked. He commented, "It really has to be the final game of the season, the league decider against Blantyre, we only needed a draw to clinch the title and Blantyre needed a win against us. We went two goals down and it was not looking good. The boys showed real character and dig to fight back and make the game all square at 2-2. The emotional rollercoaster of this game was off the scale and to win the league on the last game of the season was just the best feeling in the world." The feeling of hard work paying off cannot be understated and it must have been a relief for everyone involved in the team when Milton pulled off the equaliser and league winning goal.
Despite a great season, the boys still had challenges they had to fight through in order to finish on top. Joe said this about their biggest challenges. "Picking the boys up from a heavy defeat in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup to the eventual cup winners, Barrhead. At halftime we were 2-1 down and felt we could win the game in the 2nd half, however, we lost a couple of players at the start of the 2nd half and Barrhead took full advantage. Giving us our heaviest defeat to date. We then lost the following week to Rossvale in the quarter final of the regional cup. We experienced playing against 12 men for the first time that day. We lost the game 3-1 but that scoreline completely flattered Rossvale. After getting so far in both cups and losing both games the way we did, it was hard to take. Easily the biggest challenge was picking the boys back up for the rest of the season. I think winning our next league game was the key to winning the league. If we had lost that after two defeats, I don't think we would have finished with two trophies." Being able to give your team confidence and motivate them to play at their highest level, even after suffering defeats is a hard task to accomplish. Heads will be hanging and the atmosphere will be poor, but to fill them with confidence makes all the difference.
Finding a reason for your teams success can be difficult, there can be a lot of reasons why a team succeeds. Joe, was tasked with the difficult job of picking the biggest cause for his teams victories. He commented, "The core of this team have been together since they were five years old and there is a very strong bond between the boys. We also have a strong coaching team and this along with a great bunch of boys have been the keys to our success. We also have very supportive parents behind each child too." Having a good supporting cast behind the players can make a huge difference in how they perform on the pitch. Having people that believe in them and encourage them to be the best can propel them to different levels of football.
After a successful season, the sky's the limit for Joe and Milton Rovers. He said this about his plans for the future, "We are hoping to build on this year's success and hopefully go further in the Scottish and Regional cups." Improving on the squad and pushing themselves to go further in competitions is a huge task to undertake but Milton Rovers feel like they can handle it.
Congratulations to Milton Rovers and we wish them luck for their future seasons.