“I would like to firstly thank everyone associated with St Roch’s for their support throughout 2017 and take this opportunity to wish everyone with a bit of Candy in their soul, a brilliant 2018.
At this time it is always right to reflect and have a thought for those who left us in the past year. Our thoughts are with everyone who lost a loved one. The football world often reflects the real hopes, achievements aspirations and disappointments that we all face in our day to day lives.
We have had some highs and lows in 2017 and I ask you to keep in your memories two ex Gaffers of mine. Michael Hipson, who was also manager of St Roch’s and Tam Burns, who was to scout for the club. The club also remember Colin McLean, who we lost recently and who made a significant contribution to the club over the decades. The flag at the club will remain at half mast until we get an opportunity to pay our respects to Colin, which hopefully will be this Saturday v Benburb. We wish our deepest condolences to all family and friends.
On the park, the highs were finishing in our highest league finish for a generation and getting to three quarter finals, in cup competitions. The lows were narrowly missing out on promotion and exiting the Scottish Cup at the earliest stage, earlier this season.
I am looking forward to the challenge in 2018 and with 20 league fixtures and participation in two cups, it will be a busy time until the end of May
Our targets ,that were set at the start of the season, are still very much achievable and I believe the squad is as strong now as it has ever been,
Unfortunately two of the lads who made a significant impact for me in time here have moved on recently. Baboucarr Musa and Dom Febers to Glasgow Perthshire and Bellshill Athletic respectively. I wish both the lads all the best and thank them for everything they gave us in the past few years.
Also at New Year we take the opportunity to look forward and from last January till today, we have as many as 12 new players and a new assistant manager in Stevie Rankin, who has been a great support to Gary and I.
On the playing front, despite losing Musa and Dom, we concluded the year with the return of Robert Maguire, as well as the signings of Reece Glackin from Edinburgh City and Ryan McManus from Albion Rovers.. Each have played a small part so far, but after the break it’ll be good to see each kick on and show the fans what they can do.
Injury wise, we can report a better state of affairs than we had at the start of December. McManus, Glackin, Robert Haliday and Tam Hanlon look to be back to fitness, with T.J. McCluskey, Johnny Carter and Jordan Logan back in the next week or so, we should have an almost full compliment of players available for this busy upcoming schedule. Ryan Jack will be another few weeks and in the longer term, Brian McQueen has had his cruciate operation and finally, Steven Logan is penciled in for an operation at the end of January.
Aaron Millar’s loan spell is up next week and we would like to thank him for his efforts and goals during his spell at the club, as well as thanks to Clyde for their continued assistance.
This mean we have the following squad going into the second half of the season
1 John Stark
44 Christopher Treacey
2 Danny Irvine
3 Robert Haliday
4 John Carter
5 Stephen Bryson
6 Robert Maguire
7 Darryl Naismith
8 Kieran Daw
9 Stephen McDonald
10 Kieran Martin
11 Ryan Craig
14 Darren Maguire
15 Paul Tierney
16 Ryan McManus
18 Tam Hanlon
23 Ryan Jack
29 Ross Dickson
74 Reece Glackin
88 T.J. McCluskey
92 Jordan Logan
As it stands, we will not be looking to make any new additions in January.
So here is to 2018, we hope that we, the management team, backroom team and all the players can make all your New Year wishes come true. You can be rest assured that we will give it our very best. That is the least out great fans deserve.”
Thanks to Andy for his time and good luck to all for the run in.