Around The Amateur Football Scene (05/06/2021)

Chief Writer Tom Scott takes a look at some club snippets.

Sean Kenney and the lads at Kilbride Thistle AFC will wear the colours of Ardeer Thistle – West of Scotland Conference League Club – today when they play AS Airdrie in a home friendly.

Said Sean “We are looking forward to our first outing, and know the people at AS Airdrie really well.”

I had a terrific reaction to our Big Interview with Sean Kenney on Friday.

Stand-by for a big sponsorship announcement coming from Manager Stevie McCallum and Bellgrove Amateurs (Glasgow East End) at Scottish Amateur Football News on Monday.

With the Glasgow City travel ban having ended at a minute past midnight (Friday) we should hear of more clubs swinging into match action.

Email me with your report.

YOUR CLUB could feature in my Round-Up. Can feature Cup games, Friendlies, Signings or Team News.

I also welcome photographs. All should be sent to my email.

Taking Over At Ardeer Thistle – The Big Interview With Sean Kenney

It is the Big Interview they wanted, but Scottish Amateur Football News hits the front again as SEAN KENNEY speaks about the move which has rocked Amateur Football, writes Tom Scott.

HOW DID THE SHOCK MOVE FROM KILBRIDE THISTLE AFC TO ARDEER IN THE WEST OF SCOTLAND LEAGUE “CONFERENCE B” COME ABOUT?

I got a phone call from Peter McBlain (the Ardeer Secretary) on Wednesday morning to offer me the job. I asked if we could have a meeting with the clubs committee Wednesday night and we could sort our plans for the future. I spoke to some people for advice on my end and then why I spoke to the committee it didn’t take long to accept the job.

HAVE YOU ANY PRIOR KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE CLUB’S BACKGROUND OR CURRENT COMMITTEE?

I started my coaching career at Ardeer with their under 17s team around 10 years ago when John Frew asked me to come in and coach with him and now he’s went full circle as John is now in coaching with me. I’ve had a good relationship with the Ardeer Committee since then.

IT’S FAIR TO SAY ARDEER HAVE STRUGGLED IN RECENT YEARS WITH MANAGERS DEPARTING AND A SHORTAGE OF PLAYERS. HOW DO YOU TURN AROUND THAT MENTALITY INTO POSITIVITY?

I don’t think it’s a secret that Ardeer have struggled in recent times and it’s our job to change that. We come in with a fresh new and exciting squad with a positive mentality and we hope to give the whole club a lift. The committee down here work tirelessly and we hope to pay them back with our efforts on the park.

WILL YOU RETAIN YOUR POSITION AS CHAIRMAIN OF KILBRIDE THISTLE AS THEY ATTEMPT TO CELEBRATE A 25th ANNIVERSARY?

Yes, I’ll still oversee things at Kilbride Thistle and always be there for the new management team and players to help in any way I can. It’s a massive year for the club and hopefully a successful one come the end of the season.

TELL ME WHAT ARE YOUR THREE MAIN PRIORITIES MOVING FORWARD WITH ARDEER?

Firstly, it’s to win games of football. Sounds basic but it’s not been done often enough down here for a while. The second one is to get the town behind us the way it used to be. Ardeer had a vocal bunch of supporter’s home and away when I started coaching the 17s and it would be great to get similar back for this season but the only way for that to happen to is to give them an exciting football team that’s full of local boys and that’s what we have just now.

The third and probably most important aim is to be able to guarantee Ardeer’s long-term future in the game and build the club back up on and off the park. It’s been teetering on the edge for a good few years now and would’ve had to fold for a year if we hadn’t come in so hopefully if we can start off by getting aim 1 sorted, aim 2 will follow and then that’s how we secure aim 3.

Ultimately, we want to give the town a team to be proud of again and I can guarantee I’ll give everything I have to make sure that is exactly what happens.

The Big Interview: Jack Taylor (Kilbride Thistle AFC)

Travelling back into West Kilbride today, and the views of ex-Irvine United and Tass Colts regular Jack Taylor, writes Tom Scott.

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

“I signed for Kilbride on the 1st of July 2020. I live next to The Gaffer, so we spoke regularly about football and when he found out that my Irvine United 19s team wouldn’t be going again after the season finished, Sean said about coming along in the summer. We both agreed I should finish off my season first with Irvine before I made the move. Due to the pandemic the League got cancelled, so I thought it was the perfect time to move onto bigger things at Kilbride.”

WON ANY HONOURS IN FOOTBALL? PLEASE DETAIL COMPETITION and THE YEARS?

“My only honour comes from when I was younger in 2017, where I was playing with Tass Colts U17’s and we won the CYP. It was quite a big tournament and a right good buzz when we won it. I also won Man of the Match in this game, which was also a great highlight of my career.”

WHAT HAS IMPRESSED YOU MOST SINCE JOINING KILBRIDE THISTLE?

“The quality of players that are already here has really impressed me. I’m really excited to play with these players as they will improve my football ability a fair amount. I’m impressed with how close the team are as a friend’s group too.”

“That helps a lot when it comes to game day.”

GIVE US AN IN-SIGHT INTO THE ATTRIBUTES OF MANAGER SEAN KENNEY?

“Sean’s got really high and exciting expectations for the upcoming seasons about how he wants us to play our football, and for where he wants us to be in the next couple years.”

WHAT ARE YOUR AIMS AND AMBITIONS MOVING FORWARD?

“As one of the youngest players at Kilbride, I think I’ve got a long way to go which is a good thing as it means I’ve got plenty of time to improve different aspects of my game. Becoming Captain for the team one day would be massive for me, and being so close to Sean, who used to be Captain for Kilbride, outside of football I think it would mean a lot to him as well as myself.”

“Winning the Scottish Cup is another aim that I would like to accomplish. The full experience from playing away games to the celebration after winning the Final would just be surreal.”

Former Dumfries Signing Grabs Glory Winner

Ex-Queen of the South youth signing Ruaridh Thompson grabbed a glorious second half winner as Tass Thistle departed Under-17 football en-route to becoming the new Kilbride Thistle AFC Under-20 Development Squad, writes Tom Scott.

Thompson added to a Rudi Morrison double and Andrew Jack effort in their 4-3 win over Irvine Vics.

Tass were down to the bare bones with only 11 fit players, and outfield captain Sean McGreer went in goals.

Manager Ryan Docherty revealed: “It wasn’t a risk as Sean played in goal before, when we won a Cup Final at this level, and I had every confidence in him”

“To be honest, it was not a great game. We went down to 10 men with another injury for the last 30 minutes, but still managed to scorer the winner and I was delighted for every single player.”

Man of the Match Ruaridh Thompson and his parents have moved up from Dumfries to set-up their home in Saltcoats – and Doco is delighted with the capture of an excellent signing!

Doco told me: “He is a good technical player – probably a No 10 – who listens to every word of the coaching points, has a great attitude
M and discipline in his game.”

“The squad will be strengthened with a mixture 17-year-olds and older 18-19 players. As Donald Bell proved last Saturday in the first team friendly, our level is always been watched by manager Sean Kenney and he won’t hesitate to give youth a chance – go and embrace the challenge!”

“We have started pre-season training with a lot of testing – bleep, agility and sprint – on the first night.”

“Moving forward, we will concentrate on ball work and pressing.”

Kilbride Re-Arrange Friendlies Programme

Kilbride Thistle AFC have re-arranged their friendlies programme due to the Scottish Government travel ban, writes Tom Scott.

Thistle were due to play Glasgow East End-based Tollcross at home this Saturday, but will now line-up against Ardeer West Recreation at Ardeer Rec. Kick-off 2pm.

Manager Sean Kenney revealed: “It’s ironic we will play Ardeer West, who were our last competitive opponents back in February, 2020.”

“We won 3-2 away from home that day!”

Ryan Docherty: Bell Debut Can Inspire Others

Kilbride Thistle AFC Under-20 Development team boss Ryan Docherty insists younger players should be inspired by Donald Bell making his first-team debut in last Saturday’s friendly against Largs Thistle Amateurs at the National Training Centre, writes Tom Scott.

Bell (19) was given the thumbs-up to start by Manager Sean Kenney ahead of more experienced squad members in a central-midfield role as Kilbride recorded an 8-0 victory.

Doco, who took the pre-match warm-up, has always believed if any of his young squad (2004) from their previous set-up at Tass Thistle were called upon to step-up, they should go onto the park and embrace the challenge – he doesn’t believe players staying in “comfort zones.”

Said Ryan: “I am delighted for him.”

“He played a part in the build-up to our first half goal.

“I had a word with him pre-match about starting and what this club’s expectations are. His selection by the gaffer (Sean Kenney) highlights the whole point of this development.”

“As a manager I want our players to progress and go onto the next level with Sean and his coaches. It’s all there waiting for them – how much do they want it?”

“At various times a lot of our players have either worked or been alongside the first team during training nights, so they should know what to expect.”

“The standards on and off the park at Kilbride Thistle AFC are huge We all want to be part of that.”

Kilbride Deliver Impressive Largs Display

Kilbride Thistle AFC boss Sean Kenney has played down Saturday’s opening friendly result against Largs Thistle Amateurs at the Inverclyde National Centre, writes Tom Scott.

In lovely weather, Thistle, who led 1-0 at the break, went on to score seven second half goals, but, more importantly as far as his was concerned, kept a clean sheet.

Said Sean; “We won’t be getting carried away with today’s 8-0 win.”

New Under-20 Development team manager Ryan Docherty took the pre-match warm-up and delivered a special “pep talk” to one of his emerging young stars, 19-year-old Donald Bell, who was thrown straight into the starting line-up in central midfield for his amateur football debut.

No pressure there, Donald, when the Manager has complete faith in your ability!

Speaking exclusively to Scottish Amateur Football News after the final whistle Sean Kenney said: “Donald has trained with us at first team level, and is a great prospect.”

“We had a big squad available today with experienced players left out, and some of them have not come here to watch from the touch line, but hopefully by putting Donald straight into the team – and in a position ( central midfield ) – where you can’t hide – sends out a message to other younger players that this is the level you want to aspire to!”

“We knew Largs would be a fit, young team and come out of the traps flying inside the opening 10 minutes, and that is exactly what happened. They played a high tempo game, and it took us time to adjust.”

“Once we settled and scored, it gave us the chance to kick-on and we restricted them to shotting from outside the box. Donald was involved in the build-up to the first half goal.

“Second half we blew them away.”

“At Kilbride Thistle we look to win games in a certain way, and I want to single out our two different line-ups of defenders in keeping a clean sheet.”

“It would have been very easy to become complacent, lazy and sloppy with the changes that take place on the park in a friendly, but I thought they all defended really well.”

Following Cammy Blair’s first half counter, Ryan Wilson bagged a second half hat-trick, Robert Frew scored on his debut, alongside counters from Darren Frye, Robbie MacInnes and an own goal.

Due to the on-going Scottish Government travel ban in and out of Glasgow, it looks as though Kilbride Thistle will now be looking for new opponents to play at home this Saturday, May 29.

Beach Work Part Of The Kilbride Schedule

The thought of beach work – in other words sand dunes – has brought fear to many a footballer over the years, writes Tom Scott.

Professional clubs North and South of the border – going back to the days of former Glasgow Rangers boss, the late Jock Wallace – included many a session which “encouraged” players to run up and down steep sand slopes marked out by poles.

Many a Newspaper Picture Editor, in direct competition with rivals, just loved an “exclusive” photograph of players having to cope with the physical work on those dreaded dunes!

Kilbride Thistle AFC Manager Sean Kenney believes “short, sharp sessions” on the beach can still form the basis of present-day methods.

He said: “I wouldn’t ask them to do something I wouldn’t do myself when it comes to training.”

On Saturday, May 15, the Kilbride gaffer organised three differently timed shifts down at the Ardeer beach.

He said: “We do them a lot.”

“The early session started at 8am and last 45 minutes, and the lads were back up the road. Others came in at noon and 2.30pm respectively.”

“We had ball work, the sand dunes and finished up with a bit of relaxation in the sea (shades of ice baths, lads!) Great for recovery.”

“I tell the players I have four drills to get through over 45 minutes. If they complete them in 30 minutes, it’s a case of finishing-up, and going back home or into work.”

“They enjoy it – and it’s great for team spirit which is importantly in any dressing room.”

The Big Player Interview: Reid Fisher (Kilbride Thistle AFC)

Today’s Big Player Interview features a recent signing made by Kilbride Thistle AFC, writes Tom Scott.

PLEASE STATE YOUR NAME AND POSITION AT KILBRIDE THISTLE?

REID FISHER
AGED 25
GOALKEEPER.

CAN YOU TELL OUR READERS ABOUT YOUR PLAYING CAREER PRIOR TO SIGNING FOR KILBRIDE?

I STARTED OFF AT GALSTON BOYS CLUB BEFORE GOING PRO YOUTH AT KILMARNOCK, CELTIC AND DUNDEE UNITED.

I THEN WENT BACK TO GALSTON BOYS CLUB BEFORE GOING BACK TO KILMARNOCK WHERE I STAYED FOR A BIT BUT DIDN’T GET A FULL TIME CONTRACT.

I ENDED UP SIGNING WITH GALSTON UNITED AMATEURS BEFORE HEADING TO NEW FARM AND NOW I AM HERE.

WHAT AS THE ATTRACTION IN SIGNING FOR MANAGER SEAN KENNEY?

THE GINGER MOURINHO WAS A BIG PART IN ME SIGNING FOR KILBRIDE.

THROUGH SEVERAL CHATS AND DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE PLANS AND FUTURE FOR THE CLUB AND THE WAY SEAN WANTS TO PLAY FOOTBALL WAS WHAT MADE MY MIND UP FOR ME TO SIGN.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST MOMENT PLAYING FOOTBALL?

WINNING THE LEAGUE WITH NEW FARM WAS UP THERE THAT WAS A GREAT TIME AND FEELING BUT IT WOULD HAVE TO BE UP TRAINING WITH THE KILMARNOCK FIRST TEAM DURING MY SECOND SPELL THERE.

WHAT ARE YOUR AIMS AND AMBITIONS FOR SEASON 2021-2022?

MY AIMS ARE TO GET MYSELF NUMBER 1 AT THE CLUB AND WHATEVER LEAGUE WE END UP IN GO ON TO WIN SOME SILVERWARE.

Many thanks to Kilbride Thistle AFC Manager Sean Kenney for supplying the photograph of Reid Fisher, but also every other photo in all previous Interviews.

The Big Player Interview: Michael Howie

Delighted to welcome Michael Howie of Kilbride Thistle AFC on board as part of my Big Player Interview Series, writes Tom Scott.

PLEASE STATE YOUR NAME AND POSITION AT KILBRIDE THISTLE.

Michael Howie (Defender)

CAN YOU TELL OUR READERS ABOUT YOUR PLAYING CAREER PRIOR TO SIGNING FOR KILBRIDE?

I started off my career off at Kilbride Thistle 11 years ago winning back-to-back promotions before have a brief spell with Clark Drive. I have spent most of my playing career with Hurlford Thistle, having been there for 6 years winning most trophies each year domestically along the way, Until recently having short spells with Muirkirk and New Farm Loch. Now i’m back at Kilbride, where I hope to finish off my career

WHAT AS THE ATTRACTION IN SIGNING FOR MANAGER SEAN KENNEY?

Seeing how passionate Sean is about the game as a whole, his commitment towards the club and each and every player aswell. He’s got all the right things in place and doesn’t leave anything unturned before training or game days.

However, doing it on the park is upto us players and hopefully I can repay him with some good performances and trophies along the way.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST MOMENT PLAYING FOOTBALL?

I’ve got TWO sorry, Captaining the Ayrshire Select Squad when winning the Scottish Regions Tournament is one of the best feelings i’ve experienced in football, or getting called up to the Scotland Amateur team, just to experience playing with the best players about and learning off one and other.

WHAT ARE YOUR AIMS AND AMBITIONS FOR SEASON 2021-2022?

My personal aims for this season is to be permanent figure in Sean’s first 11 and hopefully pass on some experience to the younger boys in the dressing room. As a team, it’s got to be winning titles – the squad is far too good not to be challenging whether it’s in the amateur game or senior game.

Thanks to Sean Kenney (Kilbride Thistle AFC Manager for the Photograph)