Haddington Athletic boss Scott Bonnar sees Spartans test as a personal learning opportunity

Haddington Athletic boss Scott Bonnar says tomorrow’s South Challenge Cup tie at home to Spartans is not only a test for his players, but also for himself as a manager to pit his wits against the experience of visiting gaffer Dougie Samuel.

By Scott Thomson
Friday, 19th November 2021, 7:00 am
The Haddington Athletic coaching staff are hoping to learn from their Challenge Cup contest against Lowland League Spartans. Picture: Corrine Briggs
The Haddington Athletic coaching staff are hoping to learn from their Challenge Cup contest against Lowland League Spartans. Picture: Corrine Briggs

The East of Scotland First Division Conference A high-flyers have lost just once in 22 games this season, but face a stern test of their credentials with the visit of the Ainslie Park men, currently sat second top of the Lowland League, two levels above them.

Bonnar says the third-round tie is another “free hit” for his side, like that of their recent Scottish Cup tie at Highland League Brechin City, which is the only blight on their incredible run.

“It’s another good test for the players to see where they are against a Lowland League team,” said Bonnar. “It’s like the Brechin game, it’s another free hit for us to see where we are and how we are progressing.

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“The boys are thriving on the intensity of it all and they are buzzing to play every week.

“It will be good for myself and Ryan [Grant, assistant manager] to test ourselves against a Lowland League team that are near the top, they are a good side and it will give us a benchmark of where we are and where we need to get to.

“I love testing myself against other managers who have been successful. Even against Brechin against Andy Kirk [a young manager] I learned a lot, even decision making, because we had to make a couple of enforced substitutions due to a few injuries.

“I did the wrong thing and moved our centre half to the left side instead of bringing on another left-back. I made a mistake but I have learned – I made an instant decision rather than thinking it through – which should hopefully improve me as a coach.”

Haddington are expecting another impressive crowd, as Bonnar added: “The crowds have been outstanding. The place is looking good so it deserves to have people coming along.

“The town is buzzing; everyone is talking about the team, I go places and people stop me to talk about us.”

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