Gartcairn Football Academy finished top of the WLAYFC A League after a great season full of ups and downs. We got the chance to catch up with the head coach of Gartcairn, Robert McCallum to find out the secrets to their success.
After a great league win, where everyone involved in the team works hard throughout the whole season, emotions run high after the final match. Robert said this about his team becoming league winners. "The players, coaching staff and parents were delighted with winning the league for the first time. We changed the style of football that we were playing dramatically and the players bought into it from day one." Being able to find a style that works for your team and for them to fall into line and agree with the style is a great thing. Making sure that each player knows their role within their team can make all the difference.
Picking a favourite moment from the whole season can be a difficult task but Robert said this. "I can't really pinpoint a favourite moment to be honest, but seeing the boys play the style that took months to shape and develop, and then scoring goals directly from that shape is brilliant." Seeing that the squad are following what they've been shown in training is great and making sure that the hard work in training isn't going to waste can always make the coach pleased.
Despite a great season and a first time league win for Gartcairn they still had their struggles throughout. Robert said this about his teams biggest challenges. "In the league, we played Bathgate away from home. All we needed was one point to secure the league, we were down 3-1 and down to ten men but pulled it back to draw 3-3." It was a game of two halves and Gartcairn came away with a hard fought draw and the league was theirs.
The main reason for a teams success can be hard to pinpoint and it was no different for Robert. He said this about why he thought Gartcairn succeeded. "The style of play change, moving three midfielders into defence, and the training that reinforces that style. The boys were a bit apprehensive at first but when it was apparently obvious the style was working on the pitch they quickly bought into it." The change on the pitch only works when the ethic changes in training. Once the boys buy into the system they can see success and the wins start pouring in.
After a successful season, Gartcairn and Robert have high hopes for the future. He said this about his plans for the future. "For me, keep out of trouble by coaching. For the players, it would be great to see more of the team break through into the juniors. We had two players this year so would like to see more." That's the end goal for coaches and players, to see the players progress into a successful footballing career.
Robert had some final comments to add about the season. "The West Lothian League are a credit and the teams playing within the U16s this season have proven to be serious competition with 7 teams all capable of beating each other. The East Region Cup, with teams like Tynecastle, Portobello, Hutchison Vale and Spartans is an absolute joy to play in and I would like to welcome both Hutchison Vale and Tynecastle to our pitch in our arranged friendlies in June."
Congratulations to Gartcairn Football Academy and good luck for their future seasons.