Nitten boss urges players to stop getting ‘wound up’

Alan Miller
Alan Miller
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Newtongrange Star manager Alan Miller believes his side’s naivety is costing them dear in the pursuit of success.

The Midlothian side lost further ground in the race for the Super League title as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to lague leaders Kelty Hearts on Saturday – the gap extended to 19 points, although Nitten do have six games in hand.

The New Victoria Park side ended the match with nine men after John McManus and former Hearts player Craig Thomson were shown red cards by referee Alan Hogg, while six of their team-mates were booked.

Miller’s side also had a player sent off in each of their Scottish Junior Cup ties against Shettleston, and Blantyre last month and he feels their lack of discipline is proving costly, with a lack of experience of the Junior game being their problem.

He said: “For us to improve, we’re going to have to improve our discipline in the big games particularly, and not get sucked in by the experienced sides and the sides that know how to approach big games.

“We lose the plot in big games. In the major games we are getting too many red and yellow cards and that’s what is costing us. It’s not about ability, it’s not about anything other than good concentration and not getting sucked in – that’s where we need to improve.

“We are getting sucked in by experienced teams, getting wound up, reacting, and getting caught by the referee. We need to learn because it’s happened on too many occasions now.

“They are not complete youngsters, but they are naive in some ways and I think that we need to learn quickly if we are going to take the next step. That will come through age and experience.”

Miller admitted that it was Kelty’s league title to lose ahead of the top-of-the-table clash with Kelty and he feels his side have to develop consistency in their performances if they are to push the Fife outfit all the way.

He added: “Kelty are a solid team. They have a bunch of performers that give you six or seven out of ten every week and we’ve got a team that will go from two or three out of ten to eight or nine out of ten.

“It fluctuates far too much and far too quickly.”