MUSSELBURGH are aiming to freeze out Pumpherston in the Emirates Scottish Junior Cup tomorrow after giving the wintry weather a cold shoulder this week.
Burgh boss David McGlynn watched 18 players turn up for training in a blizzard on Monday before clearing snow off the Olivebank pitch himself on Wednesday.
Now he’s hoping the beaten finalists two seasons ago can sweep away South Division strugglers Pumphy to book a last-16 spot.
“It’s a pleasure to work with this group of players and that was definitely illustrated on Monday night,” said McGlynn.
“The council had cleared a bit of the 3G pitch at Pinkie to allow us to train and even though it was a blizzard that night 18 players turned up.
“They could have called off due to the conditions, but they all made the effort to get there, which is fantastic.”
It’s the sort of attitude McGlynn is hoping will earn some of his players a step up to bigger and better things.
Even though he’s worked hard to rebuild his squad after a number of high-profile departures in the summer, McGlynn won’t mind if players start catching the eye of senior managers.
“It’s hard in the summer when you are trying to bring in new players but football has been my life for a long-time – first as full-time player, then part-time and juniors and now as a manager,” he said.
“Going to watch players and thinking what you could help them achieve in the game is exciting and the bunch we’ve got at the moment are great to work with.
“Our aim is to help them get better and become top-class juniors. If we achieve that, we know it might be difficult to keep them but that’s part and parcel of the game.”
Midfielder Ben Miller and defensive duo Gary Hamilton and Colin Wilson are amongst the rising stars at Olivebank but they’d no doubt be the first to admit that a clutch of experienced players still at the club are important in helping them develop.
“We’ve still got some old heads in the likes of Brian Murray, Matti King and Steven Noble,” observed McGlynn. “Olly Russell has also got a fair bit of experience even though he’s only 21 but, when we have young versus old at training, a 19-year-old is sometimes in the old team, which is quite scary.”
Burgh won’t be allowed to underestimate Pumpherston but McGlynn believes his side can progress if they keep the bar at the same level from a 3-1 win at Broxburn three weeks ago.
“I’ve been to see Pumpherston. They’ve got some good players and are well-organised,” he said of the West Lothian outfit. “(Manager) Bob Main has done a good job. He’s made some good signings and also kept the good players that were there when he took over.
“Freddie Coyle gets them organised at the back, while winger David Swan is someone we’ll have to watch up front as he is a very dangerous player.
“If we go about our business the way we did at Broxburn, then we should be able to come out on top and progress to the next round.
“Winning breeds confidence, there’s no doubt about that, but I still had faith in my players when results weren’t going for us before that Broxburn game.
“Against Linlithgow, for instance, we lost 4-0 at home, yet we created as many chances as they did. The difference was that they were deadly on the day. We were exceptional for about an hour at Broxburn then defended well against a backlash, showing great character to see that game out. We then had a game against a young Hearts side and our shape in that was tremendous. The Hearts players were buzzing as they wanted to impress the manager (McGlynn’s uncle, John), but we coped very well.”