COACH Fraser Ogilvie has finally shaken off his tag of “Matalan Man” after ditching his much-mocked three-piece suit in favour of more traditional touchline attire for Vale of Leithen’s venture into the Lowland League.
Ogilvie’s dress-sense became a source of ridicule in the Vale dressing room last season, as he routinely delivered his team talk in the type of smart clobber not instantly associated with the East of Scotland set-up. Even though his decision to dress to impress coincided with good form last season, Ogilvie has reverted to wearing more conventional dugout gear this time round.
His change of clothing choice certainly hasn’t had any detrimental effect on Vale’s fortunes, though, with the Innerleithen side early pacesetters in the Lowland League with four wins from five matches.
Recalling the tag of “Matalan Man” he had been assigned last season, Ogilvie said: “The suit has been ditched for this year. I was getting absolutely slaughtered for it and it was costing me a fortune getting it dry cleaned all the time!
“I’d rather concentrate on the football side of things and getting the boys prepared for the match on a Saturday, so I’m back to just the tracksuit and jumper.”
As well as shedding his suit, the former Hibs youth player this summer made the difficult decision to step down from his position as co-manager and instead become head coach, with Chic McAleavy coming in as manager and former Easter Road favourite Michael Weir also coming in to assist.
Ogilvie, 29, said: “The opportunity came along to get Chic in and Mickey in as well, so I enjoy the coaching a lot, have a bit of banter with the lads and it’s something that has been working well as we bounce ideas off each other. The three of us decide what we do for training and what the team is going to be so we work as a team, thinking things through for the benefit of the club.”
The Borders outfit make the trip to Ferguson Park tomorrow to tackle Whitehill Welfare, who have also begun life as a Lowland League side in impressive fashion.
Striker Wayne McIntosh has been the focal point of the Midlothian club’s strong start with seven goals in three league appearances, but Ogilvie prefers to focus on his own players’ strengths and believes they are well-equipped to keep their unbeaten record intact this weekend.
He said: “We’ve started off this season great. We’ve got a big game tomorrow against Whitehill, but this is why we joined the Lowland League.
“If we can go and compete then we’ll have a great chance of picking up all three points. If you worry about a certain player, then other players will go and hurt you.
“We’ve got a wee bit of an added bonus because I’ve played with Wayne, and coached him as well, so we know how good a player he is. But they’ve got a couple of good players with big Kiddo (Andrew Kidd), Doddsy (Kerr Dodds) and Aaron Somervile, who I think is one of the best attackers in the league as well, so we know what to expect.”
Despite Vale’s strong start, Ogilvie refuses to set any targets, insisting his players will continue to work hard both at training and on matchdays.
He added: “We always knew we had a strong squad but you’ve got to work for your results and we’ve had to do that.
“We just want to finish as high up the league as we can and have some good runs in the cups.
“We’ve got a tricky tie in the Scottish Cup away to Brora Rangers, but that’s another few weeks away so we’ve time to prepare.”