As promised in our previous post, Jaggie News caught up with the juniors manager Derek Lawson earlier this week and talked to him about last season, this coming campaign and his thoughts on his new signings. Here’s the interval in full:
1) Firstly congratulations on last season and achieving Scone’s highest finish in recent times. What is your summary on how the season went?
DL: ” I was delighted with how my first full season at the club went. We set out with the aim of a Top 6 finish in the league and we achieved that, so I couldn’t ask for anything more from the players. We had some great chances to potentially finish higher up the table however we missed out on a narrow win or draw here and there, which is most definitely something we will be working on for next season”.
2) The downside of a good season is some of your players attracting interest from other clubs. As much as the Club wish to provide a pathway for players to perform at a higher level, what are the challenges you’ve faced and your thoughts on signing new players you want at the Club?
“It is always tough to lose players from the club however the players that have left, go with my own and the club’s best wishes. The players are looking to challenge themselves in the higher leagues and we can only wish them well in the future. Scone Thistle is a tremendous club with great volunteers and a great camaraderie. The club is very ambitious and I have made it clear to all of the players, old and new, that we will be looking to challenge our position in the league over this and the coming years. It is very important to the staff and I, that the players have bought into the philosophy of what it means to be a Jaggie and we are strong believers, that every player at the Club understands our vision as a junior outfit”.
3) On your new signings, can you tell us a little more about them and what you hope they’ll bring to the Club?
“I am delighted with our new signings for this season. Ben Moffat returns to the club after leaving due to work commitments last season. I firmly believe that Ben can bring a lot to this squad (even if just for comical value). Charlie, Ross and Jamie all bring a great deal of strength and depth to the squad. All the players have returned to the club and are all proven goal scorers at this level of the game, so we look forward to joining them up with the squad this season”.
4) What size squad are you looking to have this year and can we expect any further signings?
“It’s very important that we have a relatively large squad for playing at this level. Although we did have a strong number of players last season, there were weeks that we could be seen as depleted due to players commitments, injuries etc. Going forward we will aim to carry a relatively large squad which will support the challenges ahead within the league. There are currently potential loan signing discussions ongoing which will bring strength and competition to the squad”.
5) The team have now started their pre season training, how has that been going?
“We only have a couple of sessions under our belt but they have been going well. All of the players have been doing great in the sessions and its been good to have some of the youth team players training with us”.
6) On that point it’s been great to see some of the youth team players involved, with the 2001’s doing so well last season and winning a Cup, can we expect any of them to break through to the juniors this season?
“We have been working with some of the youth team players over the latter part of last season which proved to be a great success. It has also been a real benefit that Stevie Taylor, their manager, has been supportive of the players training with the juniors. The youth players who have come to training have been doing extremely well and I am looking forward to working with these players to hopefully break through to the squad over the coming season”.
7) The summer saw a successful Funday held for the Community Club, how do you see the future of the Club progressing?
“The fun day just sums up for me, exactly what Scone Thistle is all about. It is a family club with a pathway for all areas of the community to take part in football within Scone. The fun day gave the opportunity to showcase the hard work from all the volunteers within the club, which sometimes may feel like it goes unnoticed in the week to week running of the club. The future vision of the community club with its facility developments, the long term player pathways and the social impact for the community is very exciting, and one which I am excited to be part of with the junior team”.
8) Now that you and your coaching team are settled with Scone, what are your own short and long term goals?
“I am currently in the process of going through my UEFA A Licence which I hope to complete in the next year. Longer term I aim to take Scone to the highest level I can with the expertise I gain thoughout my coaching career”.
9) There’s been talk over the last season of league reconstruction, minimum wage & summer football, what one thing would you change to make the junior game better?
“This one is quite a simple one for me…. summer football. There are various levels of the game that have made the change to summer football which can only be a benefit for the teams taking part in the leagues. I don’t doubt there may be some teething issues with this however the stop start to the league throughout the Winter period is a detriment to the game in my opinion. I also think it would be a better environment for fans coming along to watch the games in the summer months which would support better fan engagement programmes at the club”.
10) Who do you expect to be challenging for the league this year and what are you expecting from Scone?
“I would imagine all teams will be a challenge this year. There has been a few movements throughout the close season with managers and players, therefore I am interested to see how this works for each club. For us, this year as always, the players and the coaching staff will be setting our goals for the season, and I would like to hope that Scone Thistle will be challenging in the top end of the league again this coming season”.
11) Are there any games in particular you’re looking forward to?
“I am looking forward to all games this season but I particularly enjoy the cup games. This year we have been drawn to Carnoustie Panmure in the GA Cup, and I will be looking forward to the challenge of playing a super league team this year. We also have a home tie to Blackburn United in the East of Scotland cup, which again, will be good to have a challenge against a team higher in the divisions from us. I do always like an away trip to Forfar Albion too as they are a very hospitable club which makes for an enjoyable away game”.
Thank you for your time Derek and the Club wish you and the boys all the best for the season ahead! All of the forthcoming friendlies and the opening league fixtures are now listed above in the menu. Be sure to sync your mobile device with the codes provided so that any fixtures will show in your calendars.