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YOUTH: A different challenge

26 August 2013

Davie Irons on the draw at Celtic

Youth team coach Davie Irons spoke to us about the friendly against Celtic last Tuesday. 

"We played this one because wanted a different type of challenge, particularly with there being no game for us at the weekend," he said. "I've got a good relationship with Tommy McIntyre so it was good that we managed to organise something. 

"It's always beneficial to test yourselves against big clubs like that. I told the lads before the game that they're likely to have the best players at their age in the whole of Scotland and you could see that was the case from the first whistle."

"We knew it would be a big challenge for them lads but they did rise to it ... eventually," he admitted. "During the first 20 minutes we couldn't get the ball off them and it was typical academy style football. They had all the possession without really creating any chances, but we went up the other end and nicked a goal. 

"The game totally changed after we'd scored and for the next 15 minutes we were by far the better side. We didn't look like we'd be in the game at all during the first half of the first half, but we looked a very good team after our goal. 

"Jack [Elliot] took his goal very well. He probably ran 40 yards with the ball and then he just slipped it past the keeper. He had a very good game and you can tell he's got bags of ability. 

"The second half was a bit more even in terms of possession. We had a chat at half time and gave the lads some pointers about how to play against a team that keeps the ball and they were much better in the second half. 

"I've said it before, how the lads react to instructions is very important because it shows that they're capable of adapting their game to play against different teams. I thought we did that very well on Tuesday. Celtic were probably better than us technically but it was a very good exercise in terms of formation and team work."

"We knew we didn't have a game for the weekend and that was why we organised this," he continued. "They'll have got so much more out of playing a game than they would have done out of a training session. That's important at this early stage of the season. 

"Celtic are a big club, the facilities up there are brilliant and the lads really enjoyed it. That's the best Scottish football has to offer at their age group at the moment so we were very pleased with the performance. 

"Facilities like that show the lads what they could achieve if they apply themselves in the right way. Obviously we want to keep our best players for this club but if that gives them a little bit of extra motivation then it won't do anybody any harm. 

"It was a slightly different week for the lads, last week, in terms of how we structured things for them. The lads got their GSCE results on Thursday so they had the morning off and it's always interesting to see what kind of attitude you get from when they come back in. I'm not sure if we've got any Einstein's at the club but I can still remember getting my results, and it is quite a stressful period. We have to bear that in mind because it's a big period for them.

"I would love all of these lads to make a career for themselves in football but it's important that they have something to fall back on if that doesn't happen for them. Hopefully getting the exam results will relieve a bit of pressure on them and they can kick on with their football." 

"We get back to the fixtures this weekend and we've got another bounce game on Tuesday [27 August] before the first team play Leicester, so that's something else for us to work towards." 

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