Murrayfield Racers coach expecting fireworks when Kirkcaldy Kestrels come to roost

Jock Hay will relish derby with Fifers

Saturday, 4th January 2020, 6:00 am
Murrayfield Racers won a feisty derby against Dundee Comets at Murrayfield on Hogmanay

Murrayfield Racers assistant coach Jock Hay says his team can’t afford to relax against “dangerous” opponents in Kirkcaldy Kestrels at Murrayfield tomorrow (face-off 6pm).

Hay, with Racers director of hockey Tony Hand away with the Great Britain Under-20 squad for their World Championship Division 2A campaign in Lithuania, will be in charge behind the bench, against a team he has enjoyed a fierce rivalry with in his 40-years in the sport.

He said: “At any level this is always a big local rivalry, even with the juniors it’s still the same. It’s something that’s always been there, and I think it will always be like that.”

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Kirkcaldy, famous for their production line of local talent, have struggled this season, winning three of their eight games to date in the Scottish National League, due in the main to players moving away after failing to get an opportunity with the town’s professional team, Fife Flyers, who play in the UK-wide Elite League.

Racers have benefited from the recent exodus, with the likes of Liam Danskin, Craig Douglas, Marty Simpson and brother Garry (via a brief stint at Dundee Comets) joining the club this season.

Hay continued: “I’ve been in the game a long time, and their junior system has always worked well, they get a lot of kids through the door, where as other clubs are struggling to get numbers so you’re limited as to what you can do with them, but Fife always seem to be able to churn out a lot of above-average players.

“They (Racers’ ex-Kirkcaldy contingent) have come in and done a good job for us. They’re all eager to learn and keen to progress. They are all

good guys, and the way they have fitted in has been seamless.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, which Racers need to win to keep pressure on Solway Sharks at the top of the table, Hay said: “Kirkcaldy will always be a dangerous team, the youngsters they have coming through are all pretty good hockey players, and they have a couple of old hands back.

I think if we play to our potential, we will see the game through, but we can’t afford to relax at all.

“When you have players playing against their old club there’s always going to be that bit of intensity, and there’s the possibility things could get a wee bit heated. It should be quite a good game.”