EDINBURGH Harps manager Gary Gormley admitted there may be “a few sore legs” in the squad this morning after the amateur side were put through a pre-season training session with a difference under Hibs manager Neil Lennon.
Harps, members of the Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur Football Association, won coaching from the Championship-winning manager as part of a competition hosted by the Easter Road club’s sponsors, MarathonBet.
The club, who narrowly missed out on promotion from the Lothian West Division last season, swapped their usual home at Meggetland for the outdoor surface at Meadowbank Stadium for the session.
And Gary admitted it was far more intense and “much more professional” than Harps were used to.
“We were all a bit nervous at the start, but I think once we settled into we were moving the ball around well,” he said.
“It helps that Neil explains it so well, he’s got a determination and a passion when he speaks, it really makes you listen. What I really noticed was he only implemented maybe three or four drills throughout the evening but we were constantly moving, constantly working with the ball, we never got bored.
“There was no messing, usually we’ll have a couple of guys showing up maybe 15 minutes late, but from the get go it was just focus. It was brilliant.”
Lennon, who celebrated promotion with the Easter Road side last month, said he was impressed with Harps.
He added: “To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the guys were great, they were enthusiastic and they tried to implement the little bits we were trying to instil in them
“They seem to be a close knit, good-humoured bunch and they clearly enjoy their football. They seemed to enjoy it and I certainly did.”
Harps won the competition after submitting a video to MarathonBet via social media along with dozens of other clubs from around the country.
Player-coach Niall Foley, 39, believes it was the closeness in the squad that swayed judges.
“We’ve got a whole community around the club, our whole ethos is that we’re inclusive and welcoming, everybody enjoys being a member of the squad,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t take games seriously, we want to be competitive and to have someone like Neil Lennon come down and help us work with that aspect of it is fantastic.”
Full-back Steven Clark, 19, said: “To have Neil training us was great, it was really high intensity and I feel like I’ve learned a lot.”
“There were definitely a few boys trying things they wouldn’t normally do to catch his eye.
“We like to keep it fun, it’s always a good laugh when we train.
“Everyone is from different backgrounds and there is a real team spirit with us.”