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FMBhoy

[FM17] Started from the bottom now we're here....

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....HOPEFULLY!

Welcome to my unemployment challenge where I take myself from the bottom of the managerial chain to (hopefully) top where we will be getting chased after by the top clubs in the world! Been inspired to do a thread this year after multiple years browsing the forum anonymously. I don't regard myself good at this game, so this is going to be a huge challenge for me, but hell that's what makes it fun right?

As you would expect, I'm starting with Sunday League reputation and a respectable amount of coaching badges to give me some chance of finding a job, as I understand that Miles said it would be a lot more difficult and more realistic in trying to get a job with small reputation.

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The countries I have loaded up are below. I may add more/swap and change throughout the save as we go on, especially if I'm struggling to find a job!

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So hopefully I won't have to wait long on a job coming up, as I'm willing to start anywhere! Want to really push myself this year and will treat this save as I would if I was in this position IRL, so to recap:

GOALS:

-- Achieve 5 star reputation for my manager

-- Overtake Alex Ferguson (a fellow Scot) in the Hall of Fame (or anyone else who be be 1st by then)

OPTIONAL GOALS:

-- Manage Celtic

-- Manage Scotland National Team

-- Have a team with worldwide reputation come calling

 

I'll come back to you with the next update once I've managed to find someone desperate enough to take me on. Until then, thanks for reading!

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Spoiler

 

Well, I didn't have to wait along at all! Which was pleasantly surprising!

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That's right, Scottish League 2 side Stirling Albion have been generous enough to give me a one year deal to prove myself.

So, what do we know about Stirling Albion?

FACTS:

-- Established 1945

-- Semi Professional

-- Nicknamed the Binos

-- Club plays at Forthbank Stadium which has a maximum capacity of 3,808 (2,500 seated)

-- Relegated from League 1 in the 2014/2015 season

-- Finished 7th in League 2 in the 2015/2016 season

-- Has a total of 8 lower league domestic titles including 4 League 1 titles and 4 Championship titles. (Prior to the re-branding)

-- Fierce rivalries include Falkirk and Alloa. Stenhousemuir & East Stirlingshire also fall under as rivals.

-- Highest league position in the clubs history being 12th in the Scottish Premiership back in 1958/59.

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Nice to see the Stirling fans wishing me luck and being welcoming to the idea of an unknown first time manager to their respected club. I wonder how long that will last though...

BOARD EXPECTATIONS

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So, qualify for the playoffs is what the boards looking for, which is a top 4 finish in a 10 team league. Doesn't sound too bad when you put it like that! Oh ever the optimism.

Not only to the board expect us to, the bookies do to pricing us as 4th favorites to win the league at 7/1.

Recently relegated Forfar are the bookies favorites to straight back up at 15/4 with Cowdenbeath & Arbroath in between us and them.

So, here we go. The start of a legendary managerial career or the start of another failed Scotsman trying to make his name in the footballing world?! Let's find out!

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56 minutes ago, FMBhoy said:
  Reveal hidden contents

 

Nice to see the Stirling fans wishing me luck and being welcoming to the idea of an unknown first time manager to their respected club. I wonder how long that will last though...

No doubt it's that noted Scots irony. :D

 

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Good Luck!

My Beta game got me a job at Stirling Albion too - and I've already written up the first post of my "story" but... I kind of suspected somebody else would get there first as they start the game without a manager and will employ anyone! (I only have National A coaching badge, same sunday league rep)

On you go - it's a toughie!

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12 hours ago, Jason the Yank said:

No doubt it's that noted Scots irony. :D

 

I think you're right!!

9 hours ago, DizzyPenguin said:

Good Luck!

My Beta game got me a job at Stirling Albion too - and I've already written up the first post of my "story" but... I kind of suspected somebody else would get there first as they start the game without a manager and will employ anyone! (I only have National A coaching badge, same sunday league rep)

On you go - it's a toughie!

Thanks mate! Will be interested to see on how your doing!

9 hours ago, deltablue said:

Good luck in Scotland.

Cheers, I think I'm going to need it!!

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So..................

 

One month in to the job at Stirling Albion and it's been a learning experience, that's for sure. For anyone (like myself) who doesn't usually dip there toes in to lower league management, it's quite a wake up call. Especially when it comes to finding players, coaches etc.

I was looking forward to pre-season to try and figure out a reasonable tactic before remembering that the new Scottish League Cup format took place this year, meaning I was put into a group with 4 other teams to battle it out to qualify for the next round of the league cup. 2 out of the 5 went through. The teams I was put in with were fellow League 2 side Clyde, League 1 side Peterhead (recent League 2 champions), Championship side Dumbarton and SPFL side Dundee. So my chances of qualifying were slim, as Dundee and Dumbarton would ofcourse be the early favorites to go through on league rankings alone.

In between these games I had a random friendly against Swindon Town too, again a chance to test ourselves against much higher opposition.

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Went as expected I suppose. We started things off away to Clyde, fellow League 2 side with our only realistic chance of a win. This game came 2 days in to my job, so I really had no idea how I was going to approach it. I decided to go for the 4-3-2-1 approach and game was quite even in terms of statistics, Clyde perhaps having the better of chances (highlights). However we took the lead before half time which I was delighted with but was unable to hold on as Clyde equalised and probably deservingly so in the 2nd half. Now here comes the most interesting part about this new league cup format, if the game ends in a draw in the group stages, it then go's straight to penalties and whoever wins gets a bonus point! Unfortunately for us, Clyde won 4-3 on penalties giving them 2 points and us only 1.

That was to be our only point of the group as we then followed up with a narrow defeat to League 1 side Peterhead. Very harsh this result, we had played well and managed to stay in the game right up until the final five minutes where Peterhead stole (in my opinion) all three points. Dundee gave us a lesson, as to be expected. SPFL sides are just far too ahead of us at the moment and really this would as one sided a game as I'll probably (hopefully) see all season! We did get a goal as a consolation, however to be fair we probably didn't even deserve that, not complaining though! The final game came against Dumbarton, which was like the Peterhead game, although worse. We was the better team, more shots and more highlights! Dumbarton were just more clinical by taking one of there few chances which we couldn't do and you're always going to get punished by higher opposition teams when you can't take yours. Was very disappointed to leave with nothing after that game but the performance was very encouraging.

Oh and Swindon Town? Dundee 2.0 -- very similiar, but not as bad! Again though, can't complain as Swindon are probably capable of beating Dundee. Just far better in terms of quality.

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So, this is the tactic which I've been using over the last few games. Quite defensive I know, but we're not a good team. Our strongest area in the park is the wingers and forward, so my thinking behind this is be a tight structured unit which is hard to break down, then counter attack down the wings. So far, it's hard to say how success it will be as 4 out of 5 games we've played have been against teams much better than us and against Clyde we was using something different.

I have not by any means settled on this tactic yet, as I'm still tweaking things through games and I think it will take me quite a while before finally settling on something. Plus I'm still trying to push a through other signings in the door before the window closes but I really do have slim pickings.

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Not a lot of signings through the door however this is mostly because I don't want to be wasting the clubs funds on players simply not good enough. We do need depth in certain areas, such as right full back and goalkeeper, however I still have another month to try and find players for these positions. The club was generous enough to agree to a senior affiliate only to come back and say they couldn't find anyone! The two players I've brought in are 2 young scots. One left winger which we desperately needed and another center midfielder, which do have but all seem to ball winning midfielders. So, I'm hoping that Brownhill can bring some much needed flair.

So, up next we have the 1st round of the Challenge Cup against Rangers under 20's. Challenge cup has also went under a new format this year, were SPFL under 20 sides now come in to it and in the later rounds, teams from Wales and Northern Ireland also join in. We start off the League 2 campaign with another away trip to Clyde, hopefully we can better that draw we got earlier in the League Cup.

So, hopefully by the time I come back to you, we will also have registered our first win! One can only hope....

 

 

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....and we have! Registered our first win I mean, just!!!!!

It's certainly not been the most iconic of starts to my managerial career however it's a start!

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So, we were knocked out another cup competition, by the Rangers under 20's and to be honest I wasn't quite sure how to feel about this. You know, losing to an under 20's side is quite unacceptable but then again it's the under 20's side of the team with the 2nd biggest budget in Scottish Football. To make me feel better, Rangers under 20's went on to smash Berwick Rangers 3-1 in the next round. So it doesn't seem to be that bad, Right?

Then came the start of the league campaign, the priority for the season and already the 2nd away trip to Clyde. I was feeling optimistic after drawing (losing on penalties) earlier in the League Cup, so thought we would at least get another point or possibly snatch all 3 this time. Err, no. Clyde were the better team no doubts about it and a very disappointing first half performance had us 2-0 down. We came back in to it after a shuffle with the tactics which I've realised are not very good and managed to get a goal back. However a late penalty wrapped up the points for Clyde.

Annan at home was very frustrating, by this point I had tweeked my tactics which I'll show you further down in this post and I saw almost an immediate difference. We was creating chances, getting highlights and was far the most dangerous team on highlights alone! Then....Annans first real chance (first highlight) and goal. The game then ran out uneventful and found ourselves on the end of another yet very harsh defeat.

Our first point of the season came away to Montrose. Tight game and couldn't of argued to much with a point. Not a lot of chances from either sides, but both of us took advantage of each chance we got (highlight) and finished all square. I was happy to finally to get off the mark for the season and was hoping this would get us going, especially with the next game coming up against Forfar.

Now, remembered I said Forfar was favorites to up this season and to win the league? Well after the first 3 games of the season, the only team below me is Forfar! So I fancied getting something from this based on their form and we were fantastic. Chance after chance we was tearing them open. Penalty and we finally got what we deserved and went 1-0 up. Then Forfar get their first highlight of the game, deflected shot to make it 1-1. Couple of minutes later, their second highlight and it's a corner. 2-1, header. I won't be afraid to admit it, I was RAGING! They didn't deserve this at all, even after taken the lead, we was still the better team. Second half began and again, nothing changed, infact Forfar only had 2 highlights all game and that was their goals! Frustratingly we was unable to score with our remaining chances and fell to a very annoying defeat which put us bottom of the table.

Elgin City was a game of two halves. First have we just like the game before, we dominating. Creating mutiple chances but unable to create anything clear cut. Elgin finished the first have with 0 shots. However, 2 minutes in to the second half and yep, you guessed it. 0-1 Elgin City courtesy of an own goal. At this point, I just had to laugh. However the FM gods have mercy on me and we managed to score to take a well deserved point from the game based on our first half performance.

So, heading in to the Berwick game it looked like I was heading to this update without a single win in my Stirling career, however that all changed after this game and ironically enough? We were awful. Berwick were all over us in terms of the stats. Don't get me wrong, they wasn't getting a lot of highlights, but it still worried me. However despite being dominated, we broke away and took the lead right before half time! I tried changing things, to get a hold of the game, as we were winning but it was certainly against the run of play. Second half begins and RED CARD! Down to 10 men we go and I'm thinking here we go again. Berwick continued to dominate the stats however not much was happening in terms of the highlights. Then in the final ten minutes, an absolute outstanding ball through to Isaac Layne, on loan from Alloa and he buries it for 2-0!! Based on stats, our worst performance this season and we bloody win it!!

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So, after 6 games in to the season that is how the league table looks. Certainly not a good start to the season however it's certainly recoverable. The benefit of a small team league is that a few wins here and there and you can shoot right up. Especially when you play the team your trying to overtake 4 times a season. The draw against Elgin City looks very respectable now considering the start they've had. Also losing to Clyde doesn't seem as bad either. However it's early days and I'm sure things will change dramatically throughout the season. New boys Edinburgh City, the first side to come up from the new format bottom of the league and I would imagine that is where they will stay for the remainder of the season. I expect, just like IRL they should be the whipping boys of this division.

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As I mentioned, I've been tweaking with the tactics more. I felt what I was using before was far too defensive. We just were not creating anything and to be honest, were still conceding. I'm still not to sure about the defensive center backs either, the players suit those roles the best but again it makes them very limited in terms of the attacking side of things. I'm still trying things here or there, but certainly I have seen an improvement as we're now creating chance and playing far better than before. However don't get me wrong, just because we're playing better, doesn't mean we're playing good! The results I've posted prove that.

I will post the final transfers on the next one, as we have a few days remaining of August, most importantly transfer deadline day, so I might get someone over the line at the last minute and then hopefully can have a much more successful month!

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Just a quick update for you while I've got the time!

As I mentioned previously, I was hoping to get a couple of transfers over the line before the deadline and I did. Managed to get another 2, one being a goalkeeper and one being a right full back. Both areas that I was looking to strengthen in depth.

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Jamie Sneddon is a young Scottish keeper who Hibernian signed from Cowdenbeath. Has the potential to be four and half star, which is SPFL type material. I was actually trying to buy him myself however once Hibernian got involved I was simply out priced in terms of wages. So I did the next best thing and loaned him for the season once he made his move to Hibs. We badly needed another keeper and he comes in as our straight no.2 and potentially battle for no.1

The other signing was Gavin Mitchell from Queens Park. He was only on an amateur contract, so this was a no brainer for me, trying to sign him. He is already our 2nd best right back with potential to become good enough for League 1. Again, all about adding more depth to the squad. I had been trying to sign Gavin from the beginning of this save, however he kept asking for over £300 p/w!!! Which may not sound like much, but at this level, it is! After 2 failed attempts I was about to give up hope, however on transfer deadline day I made one last attempt to pleasantly find out, he had lowered his demands to only £180 p/w!!

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Not many games this month, probably because we're already out of 2 of the domestic cups. However it gave us a chance rest and take advantage of the 2 league games we had and boy we did do so! 100% month! Sure, I know it was only 2 games but I've got to take what I can get. I don't know the next time I will be able to say that.

The first victory coming against Cowdenbeath who had a much better start to the season than us but we were just off the back of our first win of the season and were unbeaten in 2 plus at home! I was confident, we started brightly and managed to get ourselves 2-0 up! Seemed like we would cruise through the rest of the game until 2 quick goals in the 2nd half brought Cowdenbeath level. Undeserved in my opinion, how many times have I said that before though? However to quote a current favorite manager of mine at the moment, the boys "showed great character" to not bottle it and continued on fighting and scored the winner minutes from time to pick up our 2nd win of the season & make it back to back wins!

The second and last game of the month came against who I called earlier "the whipping boys" of the division Edinburgh City. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to continue this good run of ours and make it 3 in a row. Also notching up our first away win of the season and we did! However credit to Edinburgh City, it wasn't as easy as I thought it was and at one point, it certainly looked like the game would be a boring 0-0 with no chances (highlights) coming for either side. However on form striker Isaac Layne popped up with the winning goal, to make it his 4th of the season in the same amount of games played.

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So after very good but short month in terms of games, we've now climbed in to the top half of the table and only 1 point behind our aim of the playoffs. Elgin City seem to be starting to open up a gap and could potentially run away with this already. We've managed to create a good cushion and put a 6 point gap between us and bottom of the league Edinburgh City. Not that relegation should be a factor for us this season, but its good to get away from there after the start we had.

Onto the next month where we will have plenty more games to play and also a Scottish Cup 2nd round tie. Hopefully we can actually progress at least one round in this one, eh?

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11 minutes ago, Keano16 said:

Seems like you've turned things around.

Seems so man! Hopefully it can continue!

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Getting quite addicted to this save! The last update was meant to be me done for tonight, but I couldn't help but go through one more month!

I know, it seems like I'm milking last months 100% month..(2 games, whats your point?) But it seems I wasn't the only one to recognise it.

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First of many, I hope.

Anyways, on to the next month of October and obviously I was hoping could continue this good streak of form.

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As you can see, it was another good month and another month unbeaten. Not quite 100%, but good enough for me! Only 3 games, I know, but two games were rearranged! One because Stirling University was using our ground for one of their games (strange reason I thought) and the other due to my opponents having to play in a replay of the cup!

However that aside, still very pleasing. Clyde seems to be a potential bogey team for us this season, as we don't seem to turn up against them. This game was thew worst of the three and how we escaped with a point, I'll never know. Clyde were the far better team and were all over us from the beginning. We had a couple of half chances, but I was happy with a point. Clyde were reduced to 10 men with 30 minutes left and I did go for it, but nothing really changed. Overall a decent point against a team who are 2nd in the league.

After that, we bounced back to winning ways in style by smashing Arbroath. Our best result of the season yet. Now to be fair, you could argue that result was a little harsh on Arbroath if you saw the stats, however we certainly deserved the victory in terms of clear cut chances and the amount of highlights going for us. Very good result and a great team performance, as you'll see below.

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9 out of the 11 players from the Arbroath game were chosen for team of the week, to just further elaborate how good we were for that game.

Up next, Scottish Cup 2nd round tie against Lowland League Whitehill Welfare. So far we've been knocked the League & Challenge cup this season at the first huddle, so was keen to at least get past our first huddle on this one and against Whitehill I certainly expected us to do so! 3-2 win and by no means did that flatter Whitehill, who will certainly feel they deserved extra time. We took a controlling 3-1 lead at half time however they were all over us second half and I will admit, we were hanging on by the end. However the job was done and we marched on to the 3rd round of the Scottish Cup where we play fellow League 2 side Annan Athletic at home.

So at the end of the month, the table looks like this:

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Very tight!! Currently sitting in 6th, however have a game in hand over a few sides which if we win we can potentially bounce up in to 2nd!! We've managed to bridge a 5 point gap from the nearest team below us and 10 points from bottom of the league. The only way is up! 2 points from the playoff spots and 3 points from 2nd, however as I stated we have a game in hand. So things are starting to shape up really nicely here.

November is finally looking to be a busy month with a good amount of league and cup ties arranged, so it will be interesting to see where we're sitting after a good run of games.

However one sour note we do have, is that top goalscorer Isaac Layne is out for 6-7 due to a hernia picked up in training!! We will certainly miss him, as not only is he our top goalscorer, but second in the league!!

Blair Henderson will be filling the void, he got his first goal of the season against Whitehill. Hopefully he can kick on from there........hopefully!!

 

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Well I ended the last update by asking would Blair Henderson be able to fill the void for injured striker Isaac Layne. The answer is below.

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Don't think I could of asked much more from him. He rightfully earns himself player of the month with his performances, the question is, has the team followed suit?

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Not so much, It depends how you look at really, in my opinion the really only disappointing result is the defeat at home to Montrose. Elgin City are running away with this league and were still unbeaten by the time we played them (we'll get to that in a bit! But take a guess who ended their streak?) Two good results over Annan Atheltic and a very good comeback against Forfar when we was 2-0 down. Right enough, I would of fancied 3 points at the beginning of the game as they are hugely under performing this season.

We started off with a good away win at Annan. Fully deserved, we played well and took an early lead. We had a few more chances to kill the game off, however as we've done a few times this season failed to do so and allowed Annan back in to the game at 1-1. We still looked the most dangerous and got our rewards with two late goals from Henderson to pick up all 3 points away from home and start the month off with a bang!

We were finally knocked off our pedestal when Montrose came to town. A game I was certainly looking to pick up all three points, especially when we managed to get a point away from home earlier in the season when we wasn't doing so well. The game was quite even and went in 0-0 at half time. However a red card for us changed the game massively and Montrose ran out comfortable winners in the end. I still felt 0-3 was harsh, but we did deserve to lose.

Next up, away to Elgin City...great. Any chance I had of bouncing straight back to winning ways was going to be incredible difficult. Elgin City had only dropped points twice this season, both being draws however one positive to take away from it, was one of the teams was us! To our credit, we made a game of it and certainly didn't do ourselves any injustice. We had chances, but Elgin were clinical. By the time it was 2-0, roughly mid point of the second half, they cruised through the rest of the game and ran out deserved winners but up until the second goal, we had a chance.

We ended the month how we started, playing Annan Atheltic. This time in the Scottish Cup 3rd round, I felt confident we could get back to winning ways here, considering we won away from home in the league. I also wanted to get to the next round as we had a chance of drawing one of the big boys. The game was a typical Stirling Albion game this season, started well - get out goal, don't finish them off, allow them back in to it, concede, wake up, take the lead again, extend the lead further to the point where you think its over, allow them a consolation. I would say we deserved it but it would be nicer to of had a more attractive scoreline to reflect our performance as I felt 3-2 flattered them. Either way though, we're through to the Scottish Cup 4th Round and a chance to play one of the big guns from the SPFL.

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That will do nicely. It's not quite Celtic or Rangers, but it's probably the next best thing. A trip to the capital to face SPFL side Hearts. Always enjoy these occasions as it's a win-win situation. Nobody expects us to win and at the end of it all, we should get a nice little pay day. If we do manage to do the unthinkable and pull out a result then, well you know. Even better!

So at the end of the month, I'm left with mixed feelings. Progress in the cup and matched the board expectations. There aim was the 4th round and have been rewarded with a trip away to Hearts. In terms of the league, MEH. I think the Montrose has ruined it a little, but overall still in not too bad of a situation as you can see below.

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Still within 3 points of the playoff which is not too bad at all when there is a long way to go. Elgin City still far in front but there gap was shortened by a shock first defeat of the season to? You probably guessed it. Edinburgh City. The proclaimed "whipping boys" of the division picked up an incredible 3-0 win. Heading into the next month with 4 out of the 5 games away from home, so could prove to be quite difficult. If we can come out the end of this month strongly, then I will feel quietly confident heading in to the new year.

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14 hours ago, Jason the Yank said:

Making steady progress, and the money-spinner cup tie should help out the books. :thup:

 

Yeah, we're gradually getting there. Certainly progress, all be it at a snails pace. Right enough we're only 1 victory from being where our aim was at the start of the season and already achieved the boards expectation in the Scottish Cup.

So not too bad, hopefully we can really drive on now.

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2016 is behind us and we move in to a brand new year. Hello 2017. Hopefully we're going to have a successful year but first lets look back at the final month of 2016.

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As you can see, overall a pretty good month. Undefeated and more wins than draws so I can't complain too much, probably the only disappointment being the home draw with Edinburgh City.

The month starts off with a good away win to Berwick Rangers, the game goes the typical Stirling way. We start brightly and get ourselves infront. Create a few more chances and oh wait, we've doubled our lead!  Four once we may actually dominate a game all the way through, oh no wait we don't. Second half and Berwick Rangers pile on the pressue and get a deserved goal to make it 2-1. We hang on to clinch all 3 points which was certainly a game of two halves.

What followed this was simply remarkable. I could not have seen this coming, an absolute trouncing of Cowdenbeath, with a 7-0 away win! We was great and definately goes down as our best performance since my time being in charge. We created chances and we was deadly clinical. When you look at the stats, we we're certainly the better team, however you wouldn't have saw it as a 7-0 result. However we just finished almost everything which was presented to us while also shutting out Cowdenbeath at the other end. I think the lowest rating in the team was 7.9? An absolute fantastic performance.

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As you can see, I wasn't over reacting when I said our team were amazing. We beat our earlier record in the season when we had 9 players in the team of the week, to now having ten players!

Our good form continued as we picked up our third away win in a row with a comfortable 2-0 win at Arbroath. We strolled through this game and never once looked like we would do anything else but walk away with all three points. A goal in each half killed the game off for us, however it could have been a lot more. Unfortunately we wasn't as clinical as we were at Cowdenbeath but I'm not going to complain. I will take a 2-0 win every day of the week.

Then to perhaps the only disappointment of the month, a 1-1 draw at home to Edinburgh City. Now I've referred to them as the "whipping boys" of this division and I think this is coming back to bite me a little. They were again much better than anticipated and were more than good value for a point. In fact when we went down to 10 point, Edinburgh City will have felt very unlucky not to have stole all 3 points if not for an inspired performance from our keeper Chris Smith.

We ended the month with another trip to Clyde, who I'm convinced are now our bogey team. We never seem to play well against them and always start slow. We was behind within the first ten minutes and I thought "here we go". However we managed to withstand the barrage and go in only 1-0 behind at the break. I made a few tweaks and told the boys we could still get something from this, 5 minutes later, we're down by 2. At this point, I generally thought "why not?" and through guns to the wind and went extremely attacking and it paid off as 2 goals from our winger Eddie Fearns completed a fantastic comeback to steal a point and end the month unbeaten.

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So we're now in January and the table looks like this. Pretty good if I must say myself. However it is still tight with only 1 point separating 2nd from 5th. However Elgin City are only 8 points away and with 17 games still remaining, it's certainly not entirely out our reach to still challenge for automatic promotion and win the league. Hopefully we can bring in a few good additions in January and you never know.

Our players were recognised for their performances at the end of month, with 5 being put forward. 3 for the player of the month and 2 for the young player of the month.

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Eddie Fearns has been superb for us this season and recently has stepped it up a notch. Not only is he setting the goals up but now is scoring them too with him currently sitting at 9 assists and 10 goals for the season.

Young Scott Davidson has also been very impressive at the back, only 20 years old and is putting in performances that has some big clubs sniffing around him. The boy potentially has a big future, so hopefully we can hold on to him.

...and finally for the second time this season, I was awarded the manager of the month.

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Overall it's been a great month and I would say a good first half to the season, however the question is can we continue this form and qualify for the playoffs or even sneak the league title? January gives me a chance to try and find some real match winners and add any further depth into the squad, however I won't just bring anyone in for the sake of it as we've got finances to look after.

Speaking of which, we've got the big day out against Hearts in the Scottish Cup 4th round coming up this month, which should give us a nice little bit of extra cash. Don't expect to see any of it, but it certainly helps keep the club stable.

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How do you deal with away games ? Currently playing in Sky Bet League One and while I dominate home games, my away performance is just abyssal.

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On 24/10/2016 at 22:32, Nobby_McDonald said:

Rising nicely up the table.

Yeah! Starting to take shape!

On 24/10/2016 at 22:33, Alerion said:

How do you deal with away games ? Currently playing in Sky Bet League One and while I dominate home games, my away performance is just abyssal.

My tactic is above for you to look at. In terms of roles and instructions I try and keep very simple due to the lack of quality in the side. 

I will include a screenshot of the roles and team instructions in the next update. Not at home at the moment so will be a few days before the next update

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Sorry for the delay in update, however been away from the computer due to work commitments!

So we ended the year in good form and was hopefully looking to improve the squad heading into January. Well, that was until I realised we had no money, for transfers I mean. The clubs finances are stable however in terms of the wage budget, we're only slightly spending less than what the budget can provide for, meaning I had no room to bring any fresh players unless we got rid of any.

Then an even bigger disaster! On form striker Isaac Layne who was back from injury was due to go back to his parent club Alloa as his 6 month loan was up! I tried to renew but we couldn't afford his 100% wage demand that Alloa was wanting.

Luckily I had him for the remainder of the month, however I would need to sort out a replacement for the rest of the season which I'll come too at the end of this update!

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We started the month off the way we finished the last one by continuing the streak of draws with a goalless draw away to Montrose. Not a bad point to be honest, considering the 3-0 loss we had against them earlier in the season at home. The game was tight, both teams having the same amount of chances but not too much in terms orf clear cut chances or highlights. Overall I would certainly say a draw was the correct result and a decent point gained, especially away from home.

Next, we picked up our third win against Annan Athletic this season who now find themselves bottom of the division after a run of poor results. This was slightly tougher than the previous 2 wins though, with Annan certainly being more involved and may feel hard done by to not have taken a share of the points. We took the lead early doors however was pulled back through a free kick delight before half time. I went all out attack in the final 15 minutes to try and nick it and it prevailed as soon to be leaving us Isaac Layne popped up with the winning goal only moments from time.

Certainly the most impressive result of the month was picking up all 3 points against league leaders Elgin City. Elgin City who've been struggling to find some wins as of late heading in to this game, didn't seem as unstoppable and unplayable as they were earlier in the season and it certainly showed in the first half were we was on top. It seemed though, we wasn't going to receive any award for our play until Nathan Blockley popped up with his first goal for the club since signing from Peter head in the summer. The second half was more even but we did enough to claim all three points and narrow the gap between us and Elgin City.

The big day had arrived, away to SPFL side Hearts who had recently sacked their manager due to a poor showing in the league. However they went in to this game on the back of an undefeated run of 3 games, 2 wins and 1 draw. It seemed the new manager had got them going again. However I felt confident that we could make things difficult for them. We was in good form ourselves and despite the opposition being at a different standard, I was sure we could go in to this game with the intent to win it. The game as you can see above finished 3-1 to Hearts, however by no means did we embarrass ourselves. Hearts played a full strength team which was nice to see, clearly respecting us (or the competition). The game was bright and they had a couple of decent half chances however we remained strong at the back and Isaac Payne hit the crossbar to nearly give us the lead!! It was a very entertaining game and we was more than holding our own by matching Hearts with attack after attack.  Unfortunately Tony Watt gave them the lead 10 minutes before half time which certainly swung the momentum in their favor. However to go in only 1-0 down wouldn't have been a disaster but they struck again, 2 minutes into injury time Bjorn Johnsen headed Hearts in to a 2-0 lead at half time. Now that, that was a killer blow. We was now looking at mission impossible, I told the players there was nothing to lose and change the tactics to a more attacking mentality and decided to go for it. The second half began like the first and was chances for each side. However Ross McGeachie gave us a chance when he headed in from a corner to make it 2-1! 20 minutes remaining, we was back in this. Hearts switched to a more attacking mentality themselves and the chances kept coming. Hearts were certainly having more, however we was still have one or two ourselves. The game was finally killed off when Dominic Samuel got Hearts third in the last ten minutes and Hearts deserved to through to the next round. However I couldn't be more prouder of our performance as we definately gave the big boys from the capital a scare.

We ended the month away to Forfar Athletic. Forfar have been hugely under performing this year as they only came down from League 1 last year and were the bookies clear favourites to go straight back up. They found themselves in the bottom half of the table heading in to this game.  I was looking for all three points based on form alone however still not taking lightly that Forfar have a much better team on paper than their league position suggests. The game was brutal, we performed well under par and Forfar certainly deserved to take a 1-0 lead in to half time. I tried to swap things around at half time and encourage the lads, however before I knew it, we was down 2-0. I couldn't complain, we wasn't at the races. I decided that if we was going to lose, we would lose in style and went all out attack and with only 6 minutes to go Blair Henderson pulled a goal back. I told the players to push forward and switched to an even more attacking formation as we pushed more for an unlikely and to be honest undeserved equaliser. Then it came, in the last few minutes a ball is crossed in to the Forfar box where their defender knocks it in to his own net to make it 2-2!! Delighted with the comeback and certainly a huge point considering our performance and how the game went. However very harsh on Forfar who were certainly the better team, but do I care? Of course not!

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So, at the end of the month we finish were we started in 3rd position. We briefly went in to 2nd after the Elgin City result however fell back down to 3rd after the draw with Forfar. Still not a bad place to be. Only 5 points from top of the league and automatic promotion. 13 games remaining and anything could happen. The league is tight and only a few bad results could see us fall out the playoffs but at the same time a few good results could see us go top! Certainly looks like we're in for an exciting run in to the season!

So, as I said at the beginning of the update, we were losing Isaac Layne due to his loan deal coming to an end and couldn't afford his wages to extend the loan further. A couple of days after the Forfar game, he left us to return to Alloa Athletic with an average rating of 7.50 and 6 goals in 7 starts. Doesn't sound like he got many games, however he didn't establish himself as our first choice striker until a few games in to the season and then got injured for 8 weeks. Unfortunately when he came back Blair Henderson had also picked up good form but was still making a huge impact from the bench.

I couldn't afford to sign anyone, the best I could do was a loan and there really wasn't much going, especially for the wages I could afford.

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Conor Murray was the new arrival. Young 19 year old Scottish striker on loan from Queen of the South. Comes in as our 2nd best rated striker and good back up for Blair Henderson. Rated as good enough for this league and seems to have a decent potential too! His contract is running out at the end of the year however he wouldn't even speak to me about a permanent move. Hopefully if he does well enough we can impress him for him to sign on at the end of the year.

I've also been asked about my tactics, I'm still currently using the 4-1-2-3 which I showed in an earlier post. However for anyone who is looking for the instructions with the tactic then you find that below.

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Overall I would say it's been another decent month. We continue with the gradual progression as we slowly close the gap on leaders Elgin City. Hopefully we can have a dominant month where we can really pile the pressure on to them as the closer we get, the closer I'm thinking about being champions rather than just qualifying for the playoffs!

Anyways, 3 out 4 of our games this coming month are at home with the only away game against Edinburgh City. The potential for a really good month is there.

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Well, I did say the month had potential to be good with the fixtures I had and I wasn't wrong.

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4 wins out of 4! A perfect month!

We started with a home game against Berwick Rangers who were above us in 2nd place. A team who are having a similar season to ourselves, started slow however seem to have found their stride now as they chase Elgin City for the top spot. The game itself was quite even, to be fair they had more shots according to the stats but no real clear cut opportunities. The only goal of the game came from Blair Henderson who gave us all three points. We didn't play well but we won, which is all that matters.

Next was Cowdenbeath at home and this was a much better performance. We controlled the game from the beginning and got off to a great start from an early goal by Eddie Fearns. We was unlucky not to be winning by more at half time however we killed the game off in the second half when Blair Henderson continued his good goal scoring form and sealed up another home win. However this was no ordinary home win, this was a home win which catapulted us to the top of the league! However would we stay there?

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Then came the only away game of the month, away to Edinburgh City. Who I sort of owe an apology, I called them the whipping boys of the division at the start of the season as I was fully expecting them to replicate how they was doing in real life however I was certainly wrong and they've been picking up credible results around the league. They've even managed to get off bottom of the league and have a real chance of staying up this season. This game was another good example of that, very competitive and entertaining. Eddie Fearns gave us in the lead, however we was pulled immediately back to 1-1 but took the lead again through Blair Henderson before half time. Henderson then got his double and put us 3-1 up which you would think would kill the game off however Edinburgh kept pushing and managed to get a consolation in the final two minutes. A good result and 3 points away from home and if Edinburgh continue to play like that, they should stay up!

The final game of the month came against Arbroath at home. Another entertaining game where both sides had plenty of chances, Arbroath having slightly more however not many clear cut chances as we did. Ross McMillan headed us in to the lead early on and it wasn't until the second half before Arbroath finally took one of their chances to square the game. At this point, the game could of gone either way and based on that fact alone, a draw was probably the right result as both teams matched each other. Luckily for us though Sean Dickson popped up with a worldy from roughly 30 yards to bag all 3 points and complete a perfect month.

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Well would you look at that, with only 9 games remaining we sit top of the table. 3 points in front of our nearest challengers Elgin City who have completely fell away from their unbeatable form they had at the beginning of the season. They've only won 2 out of their last 9 games, which has allowed up to not only catch up but overtake them in the league table. However I don't want to get ahead of myself, there is still 9 games to go and Elgin City's last 9 games is a perfect example of how wrong things can go so quickly. Still I must say I'm obviously delighted as I didn't expect to be here at this stage of the season.

Of course when you have a month like we did, you expect a few awards to roll in in recognition for it, which are below:

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Blair Henderson picking up Player of the Month which can't be argued when you look at the stats. He's had a cracking season since coming in to replace Isaac Layne and has not looked back. Currently is the top goalscorer of the division too with 13 goals and has 17 goals in all competitions this season. Also good to see Eddie Fearns getting recognised for his input for the team.

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For the third time, I pick up manager of the month which I'm happy about. More awards and recognition will certainly help my reputation as manager.

Also it seems that the board are also delighted with my performance with the club this season as I'm currently waiting for them to come back to me to discuss a new contract.

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Overall I'm delighted. A perfect month which puts us in a very desirable position however we're not over the line yet and still have to play all the clubs one more time, including Elgin City before the league is wrapped up! Only the 3 games next month which is quite short however we have 5 in April and then 1 in May. Due to this I was thinking of doing the next update differently, rather than monthly perhaps come back half way through the 9 games? If anyone has a preference then certainly let me know.

 

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Gulp.

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Not exactly what I had in mind. 2 wins from 6. Our form has left us at the worst time possible it seems.

Starting with a 1-0 defeat to bottom of the league Annan Athletic. A team which we've beat multiple times this season, I saw this as another easy 3 points. How wrong I was, to be fair we didn't even play that bad but we didn't play that good either. It was just a boring stale game which unfortunately for us only had one exciting highlight in it which was Annans winning goal. Very disappointed. Away game or not, we should have won this in my opinion.

However, from losing to a team we've beaten multiple times this season we then bounced back and beat Clyde for the first time this season! It only took us 5 attempts but we did it! A very tight game which looked to be leading to a goalless draw came to life in the last 15 minutes when we scored 2 goals within 6 minutes. One from from Jordon Morton a winger we signed in the summer and the other from on form striker Blair Henderson. However the game was far from over as Clyde then scored within the last 5 minutes to make it a nervous couple of minutes. We held on though and picked up a big 3 points against our bogey team this season.

Bogey team you say? If it wasn't for Clyde, then it sure as hell would be Montrose. Another home defeat, this time 2-0. Very infuriating as we were the better team by far. Double the amount of chances and far more possession but we just couldn't score. They had two highlights and buried both of them. One game i must admit that had me cursing, but that's what this game doe's to you, right? Disappointed, frustrated, irritated, the lot.

Next up was the ever falling Elgin City who were continuing to drop points and fall behind. A game which would still be difficult since it was away, I was certainly going to be happy escaping with a point on this one. Especially based on our recent performances. However when the game ended I was actually a little miffed that we didn't win, we played very well and certainly deserved to win, but we was wasteful with our chances and didn't score until the second half. Elgin City pegged us back rather quickly and after that, we pressured all game for the winner but couldn't find a break through. A decent point, but could have been better.

Remember when I said the Montrose game annoyed me? Well this was worse. Well worse. Forfar Atheltic at home. We started birghtly and got the early goal and I felt confident we would go on and win it. We was dominating in stats, dominating in possession, scored early, what could go wrong? Our team could stop playing after scoring thats what! Forfar somehow turned in to Barcelona and started passing the ball around us like we wasn't there. They were getting a highlight which felt like every 2 seconds and luckily for us, were missing nearly everyone. However they did manage to take one of there many opportunities for the game to end as a draw.

We finally got back to winning ways away to Cowdenbeath. Blair Henderson gave us the lead in the first half however we was pegged back only 6 minutes later. The game was back and fourth, I couldn't complain too much as it was fairly even. However we got some luck on our side for a change and managed to grab all 3 points when Scott Davidson scored the winning goal.

So, not exactly the results I was looking for heading in to the countdown to the end of the season. 6 out of the 9 remaining games played and we only won 2. So, where doe's that place us in the league with only 3 games remaining?

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TOP!! Somehow we're still sitting top of the league despite the drop in performance and points! Elgin City who were dominating the league and were top for such a long time now seem to be out of it. It's between us and Berwick Rangers for the title!!

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We've also guaranteed ourselves the playoffs, so whatever happens I've achieved the boards goals this season. Not only in the league but the Scottish Cup, by reaching the 4th round. So overall, it's already been a respectable season for us. The board have rewarded me with an extended contracted which I accepted. Keeping me at the club to 2018.

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However we're so close to being champions. Only 3 games remaining and who do we have up next? BERWICK RANGERS, away. A huge game which will certainly have a big impact on the result of who becomes champions. Fingers are crossed! Anything but a defeat would be a decent result in my opinion. Of course a win is the perfect scenario but even a draw keeps our fate in our own hands!!

 

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Sorry for the delay, had a couple of busy nights and with a brutal hangover, I give you the latest update!!

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So, we headed in to the Berwick Rangers game knowing a win would take us 4 points clear with only 2 games remaining. This was a huge game and the phrase title decider has never been more appropriate than now. We got off to a flier when Blair Henderson continued his fine form and fired us in to an early lead by getting on the end to wicked ball in to the near post. The game was wide open though, as you would expect and chances fell to both sides. However it seemed we had done all but enough to win the game when Dominic Brownhill tapped home to put us 2-0 up with less than half an hour remaining. The game was still even but we was in a comfortable position or so I thought. Berwick Rangers pulled a goal back to set up a nervous finale however we managed to hold on and gain a HUGE 3 points and put us with one hand on the league trophy.

Yep, the term "whipping boys" has certainly came back to bite me on the ***! Edinburgh City have have gave us very competitive games all season and despite not losing to them all season, I knew this would be a tricky game. Edinburgh City came in to this battling for survival as they try and survive their first season in League 2, however we knew that win would crown us champions. All we had to do, was beat the "whipping boys", the team lying bottom of the league. As you can see above, we failed and lost 1-0. The game was disappointing, we dominated the possession but struggled to break them down and was forced to long shots which never really looked like troubling their goalkeeper. Edinburgh City got the only goal of the game in the first half which gave them a huge 3 points in their big to stay up and blew the title race wide open again.

Final game of the season, Arbroath away. I never expected to be in this position, where I thought I could win the league in the first season. Our aim was to qualify for the playoffs and here we were only one win away from being crowned champions. Yet again, we seemed to bottle it on the big occasion as we we're unable to find the net which is obviously very disappointing, but even more so considering we've got the highest amount of goals scored in the league. Arbroath were even down to 10 men just before half time and we still couldn't score. There was never any danger of us losing the game as Arbroath seemed quite happy to hang on for the draw, however we had over 5 times the amount of chances than them and for us to only get a draw and a goalless one at that, was frustrating.

So, after picking up the big away win at Berwick Rangers which seemingly had brought the title to us, we then dropped 4 points in the final two games of the season which potentially opened the door for Berwick Rangers to come back in to it. Did we bottle the league at the last moment?

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CHAMPIONS!! Despite our disappointing results against Edinburgh City and Arbroath, it seemed the win away to Berwick Rangers was enough for us to hold on and win the Ladbrokes League 2. Absolute buzzing about this as we certainly over achieved in what was our goals for this season and to get success so early in to this save is also another huge surprise!

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As you can see we won the league by 4 points. Berwick Rangers had also failed to win either of their last 2 games and were unable to capitalize on the door I had left open for them. 62 points, perhaps one of the lowest points total scored by league champions but I don't care! We're up and that's all that matters! Berwick Rangers, Clyde and Cowdenbeath will battle it out in the playoffs meanwhile Edinburgh City will battle it out in the relegation playoff in an attempt to stay up.

The board are happy with the promotion, which I thought was a little subdued. Was expecting a bigger reaction from them, however at least their happy! Speaking of happy, social media was buzzing, particular one fan who prefers promotion to League 1 over his own kid!

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It's been a great season and a great start to this save! The next update will round up everything such as the awards, promotions, relegation etc. Then we build for the next season, which will sure to be a tough one!

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2016/2017 SEASON OVERVIEW

 

Ok, time to wrap up the season. Below are the awards and promotions and relegation's within the country.

Eddie Fearns wins Player of the year which is hard to argue with. An average rating of 7.20 for the season, he was certainly a key figure in our success. Not only setting up the goals but scoring them too.

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Funnily enough, despite being player of the year, Eddie Fearns misses out in the team of the year. However 3 of our players managed to make it, striker Blair Henderson, center back Scott Davidson and full back Darren Petrie.

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Below are the season stats for the League and as you can see, it's no real surprise we're champions with the way our players performed. 3 of our players being the highest average rating and Blair Henderson being on of the top goalscorers of the division.

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DOMESTIC CUPS

Scottish League Cup winners - Celtic

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Scottish Cup winners - Rangers

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Scottish Challenge Cup winners - Dundee United

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It seems that the Old Firm dominance is back, with the two major domestic cups going to either side of Glasgow. Dundee United won the Challenge cup, which again was to be expected. Besides Hibernian, were easily the biggest club in the competition. They did beat Welsh side TNS in the final, which was interesting to see.

Scottish Leagues

Ladbrokes Premiership winners - Celtic                             Teams relegated - Motherwell & Inverness CT

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Ladbrokes Championship winners - Dundee United, Falkirk promoted via playoffs               Teams relegated - Dumbarton

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Ladbrokes League 1 winners - Airdrie                                   Teams relegated - Stenhousemuir & Queens Park

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Ladbrokes League 2 winners - Stirling Albion, Clyde promoted via playoffs                       Teams relegated - None, Edinburgh City survived the playoffs!

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..... so! On to the next season and a huge rebuilding job is needed. Plenty of players will have to go as they simply won't be good enough for the step up. However, my success is not going unnoticed as my name is already being thrown around to take over at various other League 1 sides.

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Of course as the media do, they try and tie you in to a story. However I refused to be dragged in to any headlines and respected Stirling enough to say that I've heard no contact from other clubs and won't comment on the matter.

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Apparently what they got from that was I was not interested, meh. Whatever gives them headlines I suppose. I'm more than happy at Stirling at the moment and can't see a huge benefit in jumping to another club in the same division.

 

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You've done very well to win the league after a shaky start, brilliant work! Best of luck on this save.

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13 minutes ago, JHFM said:

You've done very well to win the league after a shaky start, brilliant work! Best of luck on this save.

Thanks man! Totally unexpected! Looking back I feel we've got very lucky, as 62 points is a low amount of points to win a league with from my experience! However I'm not going to complain!

Appreciate you reading!

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17 minutes ago, withnail316 said:

Well done, fella. Great season after a shaky start.

Thanks man! Appreciate you reading!

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2 minutes ago, King Costly said:

Cracking season in the end, that Berwick result was massive! What are your plans for next season, just survival? 

Thanks man, tell me about it! Originally it was, however the boards minimum goal was mid-table finish!

Thanks for reading!

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Great work on winning the league, this looks like a fun save. You selected some great countries.

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57 minutes ago, Holdii said:

Great work on winning the league, this looks like a fun save. You selected some great countries.

Thanks mate! It's really good so far, been a while since I've enjoyed FM as much!

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19 hours ago, Jason the Yank said:

Good work going up as champions. :applause:

Thanks mate

4 hours ago, Nobby_McDonald said:

Well done winning the league Bhoy.

Thanks Nobby!

 

Next update coming Friday night!

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On 02/11/2016 at 08:44, deltablue said:

Good one!

Thanks mate!

 

....and we're back!! After a busy summer with many players leaving and may players arriving. It's time to begin our adventure in Ladbrokes League 1.

First things first, transfers. I knew we had a lot of deadwood, players who were already pushing it being in the side at League 2 level, but League 1? Never. So, a lot of players were released to free up some wages along with the nice little transfer budget of 40k for the upcoming season.

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Plenty of changes as you can see. I found myself raiding teams who had just been relegated from their respectful divisions and taking their best players. The majority of the signings all being decent for League 1 with some even having potential to be leading League 1 and in some occasion Championship level players. However they're young and my team has an average age of the squad is 23. However I feel that I've did some good business, strengthen in areas and adding more depth and more importantly managed to tie down our star players like Eddie Fearns and Blair Henderson to longer contracts too!

With the new arrival of players and rise in division, meant a tweak in the tactics. I was swapping back and fourth through pre season I believe this will be tactic I will stick with for the foreseeable future.

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Unique, however it's about exploiting our strengths. I want us to be solid and hard to break down like last year and with us moving up a division I feel that we needed to be slightly more defensive. However I have the right win more attacking as thats our strongest area of attack with Eddie Fearns and of course Blair Henderson upfront as always.

I arranged or should I say my assistant arranged some glamour friendlies to get some money in before we headed in to the group stages of the Betfred (league) cup.

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Not too bad I don't think! In regards to the friendlies, the stand out result is ofcourse holding recently promoted premier league side Newcastle United to a 0-0 draw at home. We also put in a VERY strong performance against Millwall in a game I felt we should of won and was deservedly beaten by Bradford City.

On to the cup and difficult group in my opinion! Motherwell and Hibernian, both championship sides who could easily be premiership sides. However I think we surprised everybody and put in some very strong performances against Hibernian were we was unlucky to lose and a great performance against Motherwell who we beat on penalties to get a bonus point on top of the draw!  Stranraer was our first experience playing a side in our division and we played very well however couldn't score and paid the price on penalties and Stranraer were rewarded with the bonus point.  We ended the cup group stages by defeating Montrose to finish the group in an impressive 2nd however not enough to qualify for the next stage as Hibernian won the group.

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So, next up is the start of the new league campaign and our minimum aim from the board is mid table finish!! A little pressure in my opinion as I was hoping for a safe avoid relegation bet. However I feel it's still a realistic expectation and look forward to hopefully another excellent season!

 

 

 

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So, 7 games later and we're now have a good idea whether this team is good enough for this division or not, right? I don't know. Look for yourself.

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We started the season away to Albion Rovers which ended in a very disappointing defeat. Now heading in to this game I didn't know what to expect, but I can tell you by the end of it that we shouldn't have lost it. We were the better from the off and had a good few early chances to be in front. The breakthrough came when Blair Henderson got off the mark for the season to put is 1-0 for half time.  However our dominance was undone when Albion Rovers was allowed back in the game via a penalty to make it 1-1. However we continued to press for a winner and created the most chances but was suckered punch on the counter attack and ended up losing 2-1!

However we bounced back with our first win of the season at home in our first home game of the season against Dumbarton. To be fair this was a more even game but a game I feel we deserved to win none the less. Blair Henderson got us off to a flier and put us ahead inside 10 minutes however we was pegged back to 1-1 before half time. However we managed to go back in front via Ross Smith with a beauty of a free kick before going 3-1 up less than a minute later thanks to that man again, Blair Henderson who has certainly hit the ground running from where we left off last season! Dumbarton responded though only five minutes later to make it 3-2 to make it a nervous finish, but we held on for all 3 points!

Next up was a frustrating 1-1 draw away to Brechin City. Now if you had offered me this result before the game I probably would of taken in however not in the manor it happened. The game was a tight contest and seemed to be heading for a goalless draw when Blair Henderson continued his incredible scoring run and put us 1-0 up in the 88th minute! I was delighted and thought we were heading for our first away win of the season only for Brechin to head in a last minute equalizer from a corner!! A good result on the grand scheme of things but disappointing we couldn't hold on for only four minutes!

Challenge Cup time and this time last year we was knocked out by the Rangers Under 20's and again this year we was drawn with another SPFL under 20's, however more kind in Ross County's Under 20's. A game which I find hard to judge because yes it's the Under 20's, however it's the under 20's of a side two divisions higher than us and after losing to Rangers Under 20's last year, I was wary of County. However we managed to win the game 1-0 and get in to the next round of the challenge cup with a kind tie against League 2 side Montrose at home, surely winnable?!

Back to league action and next up was East Fife at home. Now East Fife was one of the sides who the bookies had me as favorite to take over at the beginning of the season so I wanted to get a good result and prove i was right to stay with Stirling Albion. However it wasn't to be as the game came to a close at 0-0 in which was deserved. Boring, uninspiring and was glad it finished to be honest.

DERBY TIME! Alloa Athletic away, one of our fierce rivals! Was looking forward to this, never experienced an Alloa/Stirling derby, not idea if there is a name for it or whether this really is one, however football manager says it is! Alloa Athletic have just came down from the championship and are one of the big favorites to go back up this season. So, to get a 2-2 draw away from home, I was delighted, especially considering we was getting a hiding for the most of the game. Ross Smith put us ahead with another great free kick before Alloa Athletic responded with a very good team worked goal. Blair Henderson got on the score sheet again to put us back in front against the run of play however we wouldn't hold on an Alloas pressure paid off as they got an equalizer 12 minutes from time. Still, a good result away from home!

Ah, Clyde. Good old Clyde, our bogey team of last season. It took us 5 attempts last year to finally get a win over Clyde, not this year though. First try and we picked up a very good 3-1 victory at home. The game started the worst way possible as Clyde went 1-0 up within one minute however we responded fantastically as Mark Lamont put us level with a great header. Clyde seemed to be having more chances but we was still getting ourselves in to dangerous positions and that proved to be in the case when Blair Henderson popped up like a salmon in the 2nd half to head us in to the lead before Scott Davidson wrapped up all 3 times five minutes from time!

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So, overall I can't complain. Sitting 3rd in the table, inside the playoffs! I'm aware it's early on, but it's certainly nice to see. Livingston and Brechin City have had outstanding starts and are already breaking away from the rest of the table. Meanwhile the rest of the table is very tight, with only 1 win separating 3rd and 7th.

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I think this was to be expected. Speaking of a great month, what a month this lads had. Picking up where he left off last season, Blair Henderson has scored 6 goals in 6 appearances. Couldn't ask for anymore and glad I managed to tie him down for a couple of more years!!

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On 05/11/2016 at 12:17, facman said:

Good stuff!

Thanks mate!

On 05/11/2016 at 13:44, deltablue said:

That's a pretty good start. 

Yeah, certainly better than I was expecting!

 

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So, could we keep our good form going in to the next month?

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It would appear so, as we won 4 out of 5. Our only defeat coming against Livingston which when you see how their doing this season, you'll be able to see why that's not a bad result in the grand scheme of things.

First up was League 2 side Montrose is in the Challenge Cup. A game I felt comfortable we would win and based on stats we should of won by 4 or 5 goals. However we was very wasteful and ended up being caught on the break and going behind to Montrose. Luckily for us though, Blair Henderson continued his scoring form to finally put one of the many chances we had created in the back of the net to level the score. However we just couldn't find the second and Montrose were able to cling to a draw and take the game to penalties which fortunately we won 5-3 and moved through to the 4th round against Aidrie at home.

Next up was Livingston at home and we were truly put to the sword. Livingston are far better than us and it certainly showed in this game as they created chances straight from the get go. We lucky to only be 1-0 down at half time and I felt optimistic that we would maybe pinch something. However within 60 seconds of the 2nd half, it was 2-0. New signing centre back Aldin El Zubaidi got his first goal for the club with a fierce header however it was short lived and proved to be only a consolation as Livingston quickly extended their league by 2 goals again to run our comfortable 3-1 winners.

Positively though we managed to bounce back to winning ways with a very good result away to Stranraer. Picking up our first away win of the season in the process. The game was close and you could argue that Stranraer had the better chances however we was more clinical. 2 goals within 3 minutes in the 2nd half put us 2-0 up, however only 2 minutes later Stranraer got themselves back in it to make it a nervous ending. We managed to hold on though and pick up all 3 points.

Next was Peterhead at home and this was certainly one of our more comfortable performances of the season. We were much better than them on the day and never looked like conceding. However it did take us longer than I would of liked to finally break the deadlock, however Sean Dickson gave us the all important goal 10 minutes from time.

We ended the month by getting revenge on Albion Rovers who beat us at the beginning of the season. I wasn't as confident heading into this game as our top goalscorer Blair Henderson had came down with an illness to keep him out for 10 days which meant new signing and young striker Connor Shields was going to get his first game for the club against who else but his former club. I suppose I should of seen the writing on the wall as we ran out 2-1 winners in a poor game where the only highlights were the goals and who got the goals you ask? Yep, you guessed it. Connor Shields scored a double on his debut against his former club.

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So, 10 games in to the season and we're still in the playoffs spots. Not bad at all and we're starting to create a small gap between us 5th which is good. As you can see Livingston are off to a flyer and you could say look certain to be getting promoted this season back to the Championship, however Elgin City had a very similar start last season in League 2 and we all know how that ended for them. There is a long way to go however it's good to see us sitting so high in the table and be 13 points clear of the dreaded relegation spot. 

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This update will include 3 months rather than one. The months were quite short in terms of games, so I decided to play through 3 months for a more sizeable update and if I'm being totally honest, I just didn't want to stop! The game right now is very addictive for me and it's been a while since Football Manager has been this fun!

OCTOBER

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A very short month indeed in terms of games for the month of October and looking back it, it's meh. OK, we didn't lose but we didn't win a league game either, I know it's only 2 games but there is many different ways of looking at it. The one positive though was beating Championship side Aidrieonians in extra time to get through to the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup. We was drawn with Inverness Caledonian Thistle but we'll call them Inverness CT from now on. Dumbarton away was the first of 2 league draws for the month, Blair Henderson continued his fine form in scoring but overall it wasn't a great performance from us. A draw was probably a fair result, but away from home. A point is always decent. Finally, East Fife. Wow, this just was horrible. The game kicked off, then half time. Kicked off again, then full time. No highlights, no clear cut chances, no goals, no excitement. Just dull lower league Scottish football. A point was deserved as neither of the sides were good enough on the day to win it.

NOVEMBER

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Probably our worst month this season so far, exiting both cups and only 1 win out of 4. However on the plus side that win came against so-called "fierce rivals" Alloa Athletic at home. We started the month off with a disappointing draw with Brechin City. Brechin who started the season very well have certainly dipped since then and find themselves in mid-table by the time this game came around, so at home I was hoping for all three points. We had the chances but unfortunately didn't take them apart from one by Blair Henderson. Where would we be without him? Brechin City hit back quickly and game died out. Next was recently relegated Inverness CT who at this point were dominating the Championship. We were huge underdogs and wasn't expecting much from this. However we gave them a shock by taking the lead through Blair Henderson within 5 minutes! However we couldn't hold on and Inverness levelled before half time. There class then prevailed in the 2nd half as they ran out comfortable 3-1 winners. Then came the one positive of the month, the home victory over rivals Alloa Athletic. Smash and grab? This was certainly it. We were under the cosh for the full game apart from the two highlights we got and scored. The first being an own goal by Alloas own defender from a corner and the second goal not coming until injury time when we caught them on the break as they pushed for an equalizer and Mark Lamont was on hand to tap in from close range. However a win is a win and over your rivals, that's all that matters to the fans.

However the feel good factor from the win was to be short lived as we was dumped out another cup, this time being the Scottish Cup. To be fair, it was a difficult tie, away to Championship side St Mirren. We lost 3-0 but I feel that result was harsh certainly by the full time whistle on how we had played. St Mirren were clinical and found themselves 3-0 up within 30 minutes, however we was still matching them for chances. We just wasn't taking ours and then St Mirren went down to 10 men in the 2nd half and we piled on the pressure but just couldn't find a breakthrough. In the end, the damage was done early on and there was no recovering from it.

DECEMBER

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December started poorly but ended very strongly. We took on Clyde away from home, a side we've had difficult beating in the past. The game was tight and we looked good for all 3 points when Eddie Fearns had gave us the lead only for Clyde to sink a last minute free kick in the top corner to nick a point at the end. Very frustrating as I felt we had done enough to win the game, regardless losing a last minute goal in any game always hurts. This was followed up by another footballing lesson by Livingston who's form this season has been surreal. They've been teaching everyone in this division a lesson and we were no exception this game either. They dominated possession and chances and ran out fully deserved 2-0 winners. We was then frustrated at home by Stranraer as we was certainly looking for all 3 points heading in to this game but had to settle for point after a late penalty was converted by Blair Henderson. However our luck started changing when we played Peterhead as we started finding some form again. Season Dickson put us ahead before half time however only 2 minutes before this, Peterhead missed a penalty. Bryan Hodge was sent off for us early in to the 2nd half and and then Peter head brought the game back to 1-1. At this point I thought we were at risk of bottling it however rather than just holding out for a draw, we managed to steal a win when that man again Blair Henderson rose like a salmon to head us all 3 points.

Next was bottom of the league Albion Rovers, based on that I was expecting all 3 points heading in to this and well we managed it, just. 2 early goals from Mark Lamont put us in a commanding lead within 15 minutes however Albion Rovers managed to get themselves back in it at 2-1 just under 30 minutes played. However Blair Henderson and Fraser Kerr then put us back in control of the game and take us in at half time leading 4-1! Surely game over right? No. Albion Rovers came out the 2nd half and looked like a completely different side. They made it 4-2 within the hour mark and then 4-3 with only minutes to go! However we managed to hold on in a game which would of been great to view for a neutral but as a manager? Not so much.  We ended the month and year with a comfortable home win over Dumbarton with Blair Henderson getting the only goal of the game in which we could of had many more if we was more clinical.

Overall, I think we did OK. We certainly went through a shaky spell there between October and the beginning of December where we only had one win in nine, however we recovered by the end of the year to end on a high. So where doe's that leave us in the table?

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We're 2nd in the league as we head in to January which is amazing if I must say so myself. Well higher than any expectations I had for this season, as I originally was looking at avoid relegation which I had to change when the board was wanting mid-table. However we're in a very good position are 7 points clear in the playoffs. However it certainly looks like the league title is over as Livingston are still unbeaten and are 17 points clear at the top. Elsewhere Albion Rovers and Peterhead seem to be the sides which are drifting away from everyone else for relegation however will still fight it out between themselves for automatic relegation.

During the last 3 months, I've had a couple of interesting opportunities.

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Northern Irish Premiership side Portadown wanted to interview me to takeover there and I was interested. Top flight football and a chance to even get in to Europe if I managed to achieve any league success with Portadown however at the same time, the league reputation was actually lower than Scottish League 1 which made me look at it as a step down. I did go to the interview, however when asked about it in the press I refused to say I was interested which may have influenced Portadowns decision to go elsewhere.

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Greenock Morton, now this was a job I was interested in. Championship side, so certainly a step up. However they were bottom of the league, hence why they're looking for a new manager. However I felt this was a club who's fortunes I could turn around. They have good youth and training facilities and enough depth in their squad to get them out of their mess. So, I sat and waited for the approach, not wanting to apply in case I annoy my fans or board and the approach never came. I was disappointed, however quickly found out why they never came in for me.

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They couldn't agree a compensation fee with the board!! I had a meeting with the board to request them to lower the compensation fee for me to speak with Morton, however the refused and told me that they wanted me to finish the job I was doing at Stirling. I know I could have resigned and then applied for Morton, but that just felt harsh on Stirling. I accepted their decision and stayed with Stirling.

Also during the months, I've started studying for my Continental Pro Licence. Which the board were kind enough to pay for!

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To round up, it's been a great and enjoyable 3 months. We had a good cup run in the Challenge Cup and also doing fantastic in the league. A chance now to potentially strengthen the squad during this January transfer window and try to continue this over achieving season.

 

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2 hours ago, facman said:

Pity about the Cups but a great chance for promotion again!

Thanks man! Would be incredible if we could go up again but I'm trying to no get too far ahead of myself yet!

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On 07/11/2016 at 04:19, Jason the Yank said:

Shame about the cups, but I'm sure going up would compensate. ;)

 

 

On 07/11/2016 at 11:01, deltablue said:

I'm sure you can do it again.

 

Thanks lads! Promotion would certainly be a huge compensation considering we just came up!!

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Sorry for the delay in updates, I'm only at my house a couple of nights a week, hence I only have access to Football Manager for those few days to play the game. It's likely due to this my updated will be more on a weekly basis however if I find time to do more then I certainly will.

Another double month update!! We ended the last month in strong form and headed in to January with optimism, hoping to sign some new players to bulk and strengthen the squad to continue our push for the unexpected promotion challenge. However...we didn't manage to sign anyone! I just couldn't find anyone who I thought was good enough or who we really needed. Good players for our league were available but in positions we had covered. I didn't want to spend money when I didn't need to or if I felt it could spent better elsewhere. So, that was a bit anti-climatic. However, on to the results!

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Our good form continued as we won 3 out of the 4 games in January. The only points dropped coming against Alloa Athletic, which Football Manager keep trying to convince me is a fierce derby but I just don't feel it. 2 goals from our midfield Mark Lamont and Nathan Blockley was enough to seal all three points against East Fife and a last minute penalty from Blair Henderson gave us a dramatic win away to Brechin City. Blair Henderson also got another in this game along with Eddie Fearns. Huge 3 points considering how Brechin City started this season. We was then put in our place by Alloa Athletic who finally got the better of us on the 3rd attempt, no excuses. We were poor and to make it worse, Fraser Kerr got himself sent off! However we bounced back straight away and ended the month on a high with a comfortable victory over Clyde. Eddie Fearns and an O.G gave us all 3 points.

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A good month indeed as I picked up Manager of the Month for the first time in Ladbrokes League 1 to add to my collection of many I won last season from League 2.

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February started shaky however we found our feet and again finished strongly. We started with a goalless bore draw away to Stranraer which was a fair reflection on the game. It was dross, absolute dross. Hardly any chances, low stats and overall a poor performance, however on a positive note, a point away from home is never a bad thing. We then lost to Livingston again as they continue to look unbeatable this season, in fact at this point, they still were unbeaten! Away from too, so I can't say it's a bad result considering Livingstons form. However the most disappointing thing was we were winning until the final 10 minutes where we just collapsed. However two solid home wins against Peterhead and Albion Rovers put us back on track and returned us to winning ways. Blair Henderson scoring goals in both games along with Eddie Fearns and Mark Lamont.

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At the beginning of March we're sitting in a very healthy position. 10 points clear in the playoffs with only 8 games to go! It's looking promising, Livingston should have the league wrapped up as they remain 14 points clear at the top and have been no doubt the best side in the league this season, by far! However they have finally lost a game! It only took 28 league games however Livingston finally lost and to East Fife of all teams. However unless they have one of the biggest bottle jobs in footballing history, I think it's safe to say they're champions.

More good news for myself however as the board rewarded my successful looking season with another contract extension!

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Only another year, no long term commitment. Almost like the board are still scared my "beginners luck" will run out all of a sudden and then can just get rid of me if/when it go's all wrong. However I'm content with just an extra year as it doesn't restrict me from potentially moving if the right opportunity arrives and hopefully a smaller compensation fee for any potential club, not that I'm saying I'm planning on leaving!! However you never know whats around the corner.

One final thing to end the update on, is this.

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Chairman Stuart Brown has decided he's had enough and is looking to sell the club. Fingers crossed for a nice little mutli-trillion tycoon!! In my dreams, huh? Rumours have it a local investor is looking most likely to take over the club, if indeed any takeover happens!

8 games remaining and potentially a few more assuming we don't make an arse of this and stay within the playoff spots! Big couple of months coming up, bring it on!

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