David McGlynn believes Musselburgh’s decision to give youth its fling last season is now paying dividends.
Having led his team to the Scottish Junior Cup final in 2011, the Olivebank manager saw experienced stars such as Paul Tansey and brothers Kris and Kieron Renton leave the club.
As a result, the Burgh side took on a youthful look last term. Thanks, though, to league construction, the young players were able to play without the spectre of relegation and finished a respectable seventh in the Super League table.
Indeed, McGlynn’s side occupy that same position in the league today and the manager is delighted with the progress made by his squad since the break-up of his previous team.
He said: “Those were tough times when a lot of players left but we had an opportunity to rebuild during the league reconstruction and we took it. There was no relegation last season which took the pressure off the team but it was important that we built a side who could hold their own in the Super League and not struggle from week to week.
“It’s work in progress with the youngsters. A couple of our young lads, Connor Thomson and Oliver Russell, are just back from coaching courses in the United States so we have a good-sized squad now and we’re strong again.
“The players have been fantastic this season. We’re looking now to push on and finish the season strongly, possibly a cup final would be a nice reward. The players work hard in training and it’s a pleasure to work with them.
“We’re gradually getting back to where we want to be but, as I said, it’s still work in progress.” With the reintroduction of relegation and play-off games, it’s important that McGlynn keeps his squad focused.
Tomorrow, they face a Hill of Beath side just a couple of places below them in the table. Musselburgh have been scoring plenty of goals this season but have leaked 19 goals (14 away from home) in their 11 league games so far. McGlynn is aware that his defence needs to tighten up,
“It’s an area we are looking at but I don’t feel it’s drastic,” he said. “The players have been terrific this season and probably for the first time this season we have a full squad of around 18 or 19 players all fit and ready to play. Again for the first time in weeks we have a squad where we can change things around and not weaken the side.
“The squad is good enough that we can do that so, although we have let in a few goals away from home, we’re still strong enough to cope with that.
“Hill Of Beath are a good side who will come here tomorrow aiming to get the points and leapfrog us in the table because they are only a couple of points behind.
“I’m confident, though, that we can get the result we want with the players we have.”