The Big Player Interview: Glenn Lewis (Kilbride Thistle AFC).

Versatile Glenn Lewis is my Big Player Interview Star today, writes Tom Scott.

Many thanks to Glenn and also his Manager, Mr Sean Kenney, at Kilbride Thistle, for supplying the photograph.

FULL NAME and POSITION (S) PLAYED AT KILBRIDE THISTLE AFC?

“Glenn Lewis. I’ve played a number of positions in my time at Kilbride. From anywhere in a back 3, 4 or 5 and have also played centre mid a few times. Preferred position is CB.”

WHEN DID YOU SIGN FOR KILBRIDE THISTLE, AND WHAT IS THE ATTRACTION PLAYING FOR THEM?

“I signed for Kilbride at the beginning of the 16/17 season from Ardrossan Castle Rovers. The first time I came across Kilbride Thistle was when I played for Ardrossan. First thing I noticed was how young the playing squad was and how they tried to play. It wouldn’t always come off but they tried to play football the right way and was different to how it was at Ardrossan as we were in a relegation battle at the time and I wasn’t getting loads of game time and when I was, I played as a winger. When I first spoke with Sean, he made it clear that he wanted me in as a CB/Sweeper, and that was the main attraction to just be trusted in that position.”

WON ANY HONOURS? PLEASE DETAIL COMPETITION and YEARS.

“Not any to date with Kilbride which is a disappointment. I believe we’ve had teams in the past capable of challenging at the top of the league and we’ve also made Semi-Finals and a Final, but as a group we just never seemed to perform to our potential on those days. Hopefully, the first ones not far away and we can use past experiences to learn from and help us.”

WHAT IS YOUR BEST- EVER MEMORY PLAYING FOR KILBRIDE THISTLE?

“Best memory is probably a derby game we had against West Kilbride at the Glen. We controlled the first half and went in 2-0. The second half was very different and credit to West Kilbride as they managed to get it back to 2-2 and we were hanging on to be honest, and then in the last couple of minutes Ryan Wilson scored for us to make it 3-2 , and you saw from the celebrations among the players, subs and the coaching staff what it meant, and it epitomizes what the clubs about.”

WHAT IS THE BEST PRANK/ WIND-UP YOU HAVE WITNESSED AT TRAINING, OR DURING PRE-MATCH INVOLVING A PLAYER?

“Think the main ones have been mentioned in the previous interviews you’ve done. The secret Santa’s are always good but probably a good idea not to go into too much detail about them.”

GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO THE MANAGEMENT STYLE OF SEAN KENNEY?

“You will do well to find another man as committed and hard working as he has been since he took the Manager role. The work he has done in the last while with regards to an application to the WOSFL League, finding us a potential new ground, making sure we’ll still have ties to Amateur Football with Tass Thistle Amateurs taking our spot, and also putting in place the new 20’s Development Team is really impressive.”

“In terms of management style, I’d say it’s like most modern Managers nowadays. He wants us to get the ball on the deck and play at a tempo, but be organised without it , and he has his own take on how it should be carried out. We are well informed on what our role is and where we should be with and without the ball. Once we get back hopefully, we can see it in competitive games and properly get to work on it as we have not had many games since it’s been brought in.”

Kilbride Boss Praises Last-Man Standing Response

Sean Kenney today heaped praise on the 164 people who have supported the latest Kilbride Thistle AFC Last Man Standing Competition, writes Tom Scott.

Thanks to their involvement, the Prize Pot is an amazing £820.

Gaffer Sean told me “It’s another unbelievable reaction.”

“We can’t thank everyone enough for their support, which is massive for us when we are trying to build the Club up.”

Doc Prescribes Continued Improvement At Soon-To-Be Kilbride Set-Up

Scottish Amateur Football News Exclusive

Coach Ryan Docherty is confident a transition from Tass Thistle 2004 to becoming the new Kilbride Thistle AFC Under-20 Development Squad will be met head-on in positive fashion, writes Tom Scott.

Many thanks to Ryan Docherty for the team celebration photograph. It was taken after Tass Thistle 2004 defeated Crosshouse 3-2 in the League Cup Final on 1st June, 2019. Unbelievably, it is the last Squad picture Ryan and his Coaches possess!

Any prospect of Tass finishing at Under-17s level and moving to Under-19 was wrecked by the global pandemic, but Ryan and the backroom team have been far from idle.

Moving under the Kilbride Thistle banner is seen as a shrewd move by First Team Manager Sean Kenney, who has a high regard for 24-year-old Coach Docherty.

Said Ryan: “I always wanted to get into Coaching from my School days. Through Craig Hamilton (SFA) I carried out Work Experience around different Schools, Children with Learning Difficulties, and Street Soccer Leagues.”

“I had already paid for myself to complete a couple of Coaching Badges when a Gentleman running my cousin’s team asked me to help him. Ultimately, had to step down due to his job, and I took over.”

“I noticed boys at Tass Under-15s (at that time) were scared to take the ball under pressure, and needed help, plus have a bit more confidence introduced into them.”

“We have gradually improved. The boys have come on leaps and bounds tactically and technically. – working as a unit on shape and playing a high pressing game.”

“They now have an identity, have won three Cups (I have enclosed a photograph from the Final against Crosshouse), and three players were invited into training by Clyde FC Under-21s.”

Ryan, currently waiting to complete the second part of the SFA C Licence, revealed he was set to depart Tass for the Bully Wee in a coaching role.

He admitted: “I told everyone back in May that Clyde wanted me to be involved with their Under-21s. I spoke with various people to seek advice – including parents of our boys – and they said I should go for it – but as you know Clyde FC have since scrapped most of the youth set-up, and now there is nothing between their First Team level and Under-17s at Broadwood.”

“It’s great to be back working with the other coaches and players again to plan – despite Covid-19 – three-week programmes on strength and conditioning, endurance and running.”

“We’ve also had a few offers to link-up with Junior teams / West of Scotland League Clubs, and we agreed in principle to a one- year trial with Ardrossan Winton Rovers. By late September- early October, Ardrossan decided to withdraw from the West League for this season due to Covid-19, so the “trial” was up the spout.”

“I played for Kilbride Thistle over an 18-month spell and it’s a great Club. Sean Kenney was the Coach during my time there, and he actually signed me. We remained good friends after I left , and usually we met up for a Sunday breakfast before he came to watch us (Tass Thistle) playing in the Ayrshire League.”

“When he told me about his plans at the Club moving forward, and his vision for Kilbride Thistle AFC I immediately knew it was the right move for us – in particular the boys. I know it’s right!”

“We will be the youngest team in the League. Games are played on a Friday night, but were scrapped Pre-New Year due to the pandemic. Any club who was in Membership will still be able to play those registered players, which means they will be over-20. years of age. That is a huge advantage already in their favour.”

“Being a new Club, we won’t be able to do that, but as Coaches it’s up to us to help our players deal with the transition and continue their development.”

First Team Boss Sean Kenney has welcomed the arrival of the entire 2004 Squad.

He told me “I have taken some training sessions with them and they have a really good set-up with excellent players, and quality Coaches.”

“They like to play football the right way. Obviously, they will be the youngest at that level, but they should want to progress within what we can offer them.”

“It’s very exciting times for the Club!”

Sean Kenney:Young Kilbride Talent Have Drive And Ambition

Kilbride Thistle AFC Manager Sean Kenney firmly believes the trio of younger at his Club won’t be phased by big challenges looming shortly – and that he has already identified a potential team captain in their ranks, writes Tom Scott.

The perception of young players today leans heavily on them having a bad attitude and being lazy, but the experienced boss, who demands high standards at training and on match days, does not subscribe to those opinions.

He said: “Young players get a bad reputation – no doubt about that!”

“We have three young lads who I want to highlight in your article. They joined us last season and the impact they have made has been excellent.”

“The trio are Keiran Lindsay and Jack Taylor (both 19), and 20-year-old Cameron Blair.”

“Given our experienced players bracket is 23-24 years, that says it all.”

“Keiran and Jack will also be playing for our new Under-20 Development team that is coming on board at Kilbride Thistle. What that means is they go from being the youngest in our First Team to the oldest at Under-20 level.”

“Keiran stands around 6ft 5ins and I asked him to sign after he played in a really demanding pre-season tournament at Falkirk. He scored in our third game.”

KIERAN LINDSAY  (Aged 19)

“Jack plays centre-back, strong tackling, and has the potential to be a future captain of the Club. I became Kilbride captain aged 21, and it was a great honour”

“If he wants it, it is all there for him!”

JACK TAYLOR (Aged 19 )

“He needs to talk more and add that to his game, but that will come through experience. If he doesn’t become a future captain, it will mean I will have done something wrong as a Manager.”

“Cammy first came to my attention when the team he played for, Irvine Thistle, used to train next to us on a weekly basis. He was always the first to arrive at the park, which impressed me immediately.”

CAMERON BLAIR (Aged 20)

“Good character and a really good football player. He actually approached me about coming to the Club.”

“All three are popular with the more experienced players and are well liked, which is essential in any dressing room.”

“I think highly of them.”

Photographs kindly provided by Kilbride Thistle Manager Mr Sean Kenney.

The Big Player Interview: Christopher Kay (Kilbride Thistle AFC)

Winger Christopher Kay is the latest Kilbride Thistle AFC player in my Series today, writes Tom Scott.

Photograph kindly provided by Manager Mr Sean Kenney.

He is a relative team newcomer, but Christopher managed to give me a brilliant slant on the ambitious Ayrshire Amateur Football League Club.

WHEN DID YOU SIGN FOR KILBRIDE THISTLE, AND WHAT IS THE ATTRACTION PLAYING FOR THEM?

“I had joined Kilbride just at the tail end of last season, but officially signed in the summer for the beginning of this season. I took a break from football for a year or two after losing interest and a couple of my good pals had been playing here, so I asked Sean if I could come along, mainly to just gain some fitness and get kicking a ball again. After just a couple of sessions, I was starting to really enjoy it and knew this is where i want to be.”

“it’s a top club with great coaches, and a brilliant group of boys who have all helped me a lot in a short space of time.”

WON ANY HONOURS? PLEASE DETAIL COMPETITION and YEARS.

“I’ve won a couple League’s over the years with various teams growing up. No silverware here yet, but I can guarantee it is not far away.”

WHAT IS YOUR BEST- EVER MEMORY PLAYING FOR KILBRIDE THISTLE?

“Unfortunately, I haven’t made too many memories with the boys yet due to what is going on, but pretty sure I provided them with a good enough memory when I showed up to last year’s Player of the Year night out in a 3-Piece Suit just about.”

WHAT IS THE BEST PRANK/ WIND-UP YOU HAVE WITNESSED AT TRAINING, OR DURING PRE-MATCH INVOLVING A PLAYER?

“Well, I touched base with the stitch-up I got last year, which was absolutely horrendous. Not much I can remember, but I am pretty sure there will be more to come in future.”

GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO THE MANAGEMENT STYLE OF SEAN KENNEY?

“The Gaffer does a lot for us, both in football and outside of it. He is probably the most committed Manager I have come across. He would do anything for the club and his players. It’s a pleasure playing for him. “

Kilbride Reveal Identity Of New-Team Joining Club Structure

Scottish Amateur Football News Exclusive!

Kilbride Thistle AFC will have a new team in their structure next season – and today I can exclusively reveal the current Tass Thistle amateur squad will take over their identity in the Ayrshire AFA, writes Tom Scott.

Confirming details in another exclusive for Scottish Amateur Football News, Manager Sean Kenney told me: “As you know we had been speaking with Officials from another Ayrshire AFL club , and now they have agreed to come in and will play under the name of Kilbride Thistle.”

“I am very excited to welcome Allan MacMillan (Manager) and the Tass Thistle team to the club. We’ve been in constant dialogue over the past month and we are delighted that we’ve got a good plan in place to make the boys a very exciting and successful Amateur team.”

“We are very proud of the work we’ve done in Amateur Football, and very happy that Allan and the lads will keep that work going.”

“It’s a very, very exciting time to be involved with Kilbride Thistle Football Club.”

Meanwhile, Allan MacMillan couldn’t hide his delight when I caught up with him today, and he revealed: “I have informed Tass Thistle we will be leaving and they were very understanding given the circumstances.”

“I have run the team for the past two years, and before that was involved in Sunday football. We were in Division 2A of the Ayrshire AFL. A really tough League with a lot of good football played. We went on an unbeaten six-game run before the season was halted.”

Allan has no doubts maintaining high standards and “changing the mentality to winning,” which is the benchmark for every team at Kilbride Thistle AFC, was a major factor in agreeing to the move.”

He added “A lot of work has gone on already to succeed l, and I can’t wait to get started once restrictions are eased. I have a good core of players (10-12) with five or six aged 21 and under, with the rest quite experienced. The likes of Jamie Knox, who is a terrific talent, knows the Thistle set-up, and is absolutely buzzing. We all are!”

“We’ve had a Zoom Meeting about the move and everyone was delighted. I’ve got 3 coaches plus a Committee of 6, and they will be moving forward with us.”

With Sean Kenney confirming his current squad are making an application to join the West of Scotland Conference League, it means an expansion to the set-up at Thistle.

In addition to the Saturday teams, they will also run an Under-20 squad in the Development League, plus their Sunday team.

Another valid reason why they are pushing for their own home ground adjacent to St Matthews Secondary, Saltcoats, which I also exclusively reported on last month.

Sean Kenney is continuing dialogue with K.A. Leisure- although Covid-19 is holding up vital decision-making.

The area photographed used to be called Jacks Park until the new School was built, but many refer to it as St Matthews. Kilbride Thistle still go with the name Jacks Park.

Many thanks to Kilbride Thistle AFC Manager Mr Sean Kenney for the overhead photographic view of the ground. Also to Sean and Allan for giving up their time to reveal today’s Exclusive.

Kilbride Boss Praises Unbelievable Change In Long-Serving Defender

Sean Kenney knows plenty about mastering the art of being a defender – because he has played in the same team as the longest-serving player at Kilbride Thistle AFC – and reckons Scott Hindmarsh is unrecognisable now from when he signed for them from Cunninghame back in 2015-2016, writes Tom Scott.

The Kilbride Gaffer today lifted the lid on 28-yesr-old Hindmarsh, who has played in several positions, insists he could go to a higher level than Amateur Football, but it won’t be as a No 9 striker!

Said Sean “When I played, I was always the bouncing off the walks type in preparing for games. A winner! Scott, or as he is better known Otto, was completely different. Then, he was happy to be part of the pack, but not now believe me.”

“People have told me they see an unbelievable difference in him. I agree, but he still does my head in with daft comments! Seriously, he has worked at his game and got himself really fit – and by that, I mean football-fit. It has improved his game massively.”

“During the first lockdown we designed a programme for the players to keep them fit. His times on those runs were amazing. Now he is one of the leaders in the team. An absolute machine. He is a great guy to have in the dressing room.”

“Scott was called into the Ayrshire Select for an Inter-League game and was voted Man of the Match. He has played right and left back and across midfield, but centre back is his best position. He knows when to drop off and will take things in.”

The former Kilbride Player of the Year has a hankering to do a job in the final third of the park, but Sean Kenney insists he won’t be challenging for a Top Scorer Award!

“He seems to think he could be a centre-forward (striker) – don’t know where he got that from. He can’t score goals and hasn’t scored all that many in the time he has been at the club,” Sean revealed with a smile.

“He could play at a higher level than us, but I think there is still a lot more to get out of him.”

Thanks to Sean Kenney for the Photographs and Portrait.

They show Scott Hindmarsh through the years at Kilbride Thistle AFC. Otto receiving the President’s Player of the Year Award from former Assistant Manager John Bond following the 2014-2015 season, a more recent picture sporting the sponsored Macron Store jersey, and also a magnificent Portrait as the winner of last year’s Player of the Year nomination.

The Big Player Interview – Ryan Singleton (Kilbride Thistle AFC)

Today I am delighted to provide the Interview with on-loan midfielder Ryan Singleton, who has signed with Kilbride Thistle AFC meantime from Ardrossan Winton Rovers, writes Tom Scott.

Thanks to Kilbride Thistle AFC Manager Mr Sean Kenney for all his help, plus the Photograph.

FULL NAME and POSITION(S) PLAYED AT ARDROSSAN?

“Ryan Singleton, Centre Midfield.’

HOW DID THE LOAN MOVE TO KILBRIDE COME ABOUT AND WHAT WAS THE ATTRACTION GOING THERE?

“Once Winton pulled out of the junior league, I was desperate to get a move sorted as soon. And I text Sean asking if he’d take me. I had went to a few junior teams to see what it was like, but preferred training etc at Kilbride. Only downside was not being able to get started due to Covid.”

“I had friends at Kilbride who I knew were good players, they’re an ambitious team ,and highly spoke of by anyone who has played for them.”

WON ANY HONOURS? PLEASE DETAIL COMPETITION and YEARS.

“Won the Ayrshire District League with Irvine Vics in 2014.”

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR HAPPIEST MOMENT IN FOOTBALL!

“I played with Irvine Vics for 8 years, and every time we beat Irvine Meadow was my happiest moment.”

WHAT IS THE BEST PRANK/ WIND-UP YOU HAVE WITNESSED AT TRAINING, OR DURING PRE-MATCH INVOLVING A PLAYER?

“Nothing that comes to mind straight away, just things we used to do in the changing room like cover players’ jerseys in deep heat before the game ,and we used to phone players pretending to be other Managers etc.”

GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO THE MANAGEMENT STYLE OF SEAN KENNEY?

“Good manager. Very committed, and is focused on playing his style of play. Likes to play it out from the back, and defend from the front.”

Restrictions Delay Game-Time For Thistle Loan Pair

Covid-19 restrictions have prevented hopes of Kilbride Thistle AFC giving two loan players from Ardrossan Winton Rovers much-needed game time in the Ayrshire Amateur Football League, writes Tom Scott.

Full-back David Donald and the versatile Ryan Singleton had mixed with the Kilbride squad before tougher Government action was implemented – although the pair had already made a huge impression on Thistle boss Sean Kenney.

He said “We know both players, and they came in from the Rovers, who had decided they were not going to play in the new West of Scotland League and South of Scotland Cup this season.”

“The loan arrangement with Ardrossan Manager Stevie Wilson means they will return to them for next season, and I will honour that.”

“I previously signed David for us when I was Coach here under John Bell, who was our Manager at the time. He has also played with Ardeer West, and was rated one of the top Ayrshire AFA full- backs in recent years. He has really impressed, wants to learn, and is very fit.”

“Ryan had an 8-year spell with Irvine Vics prior to Ardrossan Winton Rovers. He can play in a number of positions, including through the middle.”

“I can’t speak highly enough of them. It’s a real shame we haven’t been able to see them in match action. I have been really impressed with their attitude.”

Meanwhile, the local Community has played their part in helping Kilbride Thistle celebrate 10 years just from participation in Amateur Football once 2021 kicked-in amidst these difficult times.

Sean revealed: “Yes, that’s 10 years in the Amateur ranks, but we actually started at Under-6s level as Kilbride Boys -. not that a lot of folk know that!”

“This is my 21st year at the club, but the gentleman who deserves a lot of the credit for the Kilbride name still being around is Mr John Bell, who these days devotes all of his time to the family and grandchildren.”

“Without doubt John is not only a Club Legend, but a Community Legend.”