Bo’ness United defender Scott Gibb is glad to be back to normality in both a football and work sense after a period which tested his resolve on the pitch and professionally.
The Northern Irishman, once of Falkirk, is a service delivery manager by day for ScotRail and is responsible for cancelling trains across the country.
It’s fair to say last week was one of the toughest of his career as the inclement weather brought the rail system in Scotland to a standstill.
“If any of our trains our cancelled, it’s basically me who’s cancelled it so I’m not that well liked!” said Gibb. “I just sit in the office and cancel and let the frontline staff deal with it. This past week has been a bit busy.
“Whenever there is disruption I need to get the service running again, back to way it should be going. It’s like an air traffic controller, but for the railway.
“I get it tight off supporters all the time, asking if it’s me that’s been cancelling trains.
“It was very difficult and challenging with everything that was going on. The public all understood; it was a challenging time for everyone not just working in public transport but people around my estate who I helped out when I was back home.”
Things haven’t been quite so plain sailing at Newtown Park for Gibb either – the 29-year-old having only come back into the side in recent months under new manager Stevie Kerrigan after being frozen out by previous boss Allan McGonigal, who quit in January.
Gibb found out through a local newspaper that he would never play again for the club after a falling out with his former boss.
Gibb continued: “He said I’d never kick a ball for the club again. The start of the season was just awful and that portrayed on the pitch. Everything on the park showed what was going on behind the scenes. I’m surprised he [McGonigal] actually stayed on that long.
“Since Keggs has come back, the atmosphere at the club has been a lot, lot better. He brings boys together and he gets the best out of the boys.
“The training has been fantastic, the tempo has improved massively. It’s a nicer place to be about and the vibe is a lot better.”
Although McGonigal vowed that Gibb would never play under him at the club again, the defender was thrown in unexpectedly for their Scottish Junior Cup clash against Kilwinning Rangers in November, a match they won 3-0.
“That was the first game after Allan had put me out in the wilderness, it was quite funny,” said Gibb. “I was arriving to games with no boots and stuff because he said I would never play for the club again. This must’ve been the fourth game after his comments and I still wasn’t bringing my boots, because, as far as I knew, I wasn’t playing for the club again.
“I would stand in the dressing-room and just mind my own business, and he names his team and he names me at right-back. All the boys just looked up at me and I looked over and said to Allan, ‘I’ve not got boots with me’ and he just said, ‘borrow somebody’s’.
“Nobody would have expected us to beat Kilwinning that day because the morale around the place was just so low. To be fair, we got them on an off day and we played to our top form.”
It is in the Junior Cup that Bo’ness have flourished this season and they have a home quarter-final to look forward to against Hurlford United next week.
First up are Newtongrange Star at Newtown Park in Super League action tomorrow and visiting boss Stevie McLeish is feeling more confident about his side now they have a recognised striker in former Spartans youth George Hunter, who bagged a double on his debut two weeks ago.
He said: “We’ll try and get ourselves safe as soon as we can then finish as high as we possibly can in the league. A lack of a striker has been telling for us, I reckon we would’ve been eight to ten better points better off if we had had one.
“Having George is hopefully going to give us a bit more of a positive platform to play from.”