Rutherglen Glencairn are currently sitting third from bottom in the Super League First Division, the same can’t be said for their next crop of players, coached by Alex McArthur and Andy McFadyen. Their 21’s are sitting pretty at the head of the West of Scotland 21’s Premier Division.
They remain unbeaten having won twelve and drawn one game in all competitions, and still fighting in four cup competitions. They are averaging more than four goals in every match and conceding only the one in defence. YFS was able to grab a word with one of the team behind that success, Head Coach Alex McArthur.
Alex gave us the background to his coaching career, saying “After I gave up on the playing side of things, I was asked if I’d like going into coaching with a local team that my son played for. Then Andy MacFadyen and I took over at Blantyre Victoria, where we were for five years with the youths.
“Then when Blantyre’s first team manager Willie Harvey went to Rutherglen in 2010, he asked Andy and I to go along with him. The Glens didn’t have any youth team as such, so we went along and have been here ever since.”
After gaining promotion in their first season of 2010/11, the Glens have won silverware every year since. Alex explained “The progression with the lads has been great. We played in the West of Scotland 21’s First Division during our first season and we managed to gain promotion, which I thought was a relatively decent standard to have set ourselves.
“Then in our second season, we won the West of Scotland Cup, and then our third year was a phenomenal year. That was the treble winning team. They all went onto play either junior or senior football, which was a great achievement as they were up against strong sides such as Goldenhill, Knightswood, Drumchapel, and Campsie Black Watch.
“The following year was a poor season for us, as the treble team had to be broken up because of their age. So we decided to rebuild. We probably built wrongly and we had a really poor season as I said. However, at this age in football you’re going to have poor seasons and you have to persevere with things.
“We stuck in there and came back fighting and decided to rebuild the squad. We rebuilt and then last year won the Lady Darling Cup, which we thought was a good achievement. We managed to keep seventeen of that squad together, and have added to it and as you can see. This season so far has taken off quite dramatically for them.
“There are five players that are last season 21’s, but the majority of them will be here for two or three seasons. One player in particular, Euan Conroy, has been here since he has been sixteen and he still has another season to go next year. Ryan Bennett, our captain as also been here for a considerable length of time and was in the treble team with Euan.
“So, we will try to keep the majority of the boys together and will aim to add to them when we can. That’s what 21s football is all about. It’s about adding. It’s about moving boys on and ultimately about progression for them.”
“I think there is a strength in this group of players and they’re determined to go on and win things. In the dressing room they talk of emulating that treble team and it’s a little bit of a standing joke with us, but deep down I believe that it’s a possibility.”
On the start made by Glens this season, he said “It’s been an absolute great start. The boys are scoring goals and they’re defending very well. Our toughest game so far was against a very strong Tower Hearts side.
“People will have to catch us and that is the one thing that we’ll try and tell the boys. Every team that comes here now will see us as a scalp, and they’ll want to beat us and they’ll up their game as a consequence. The boys will have to learn that they have to be 100% on their game every single week from now on.”