Dave Wilkes on the Airdrie friendly
Youth coach Dave Wilkes gave us his reaction to the 2-1 win over Airdrie and to what was an enjoyable few days of team building for the U18 squad at the beginning of last week.
"We've done that team building type of thing before and everybody always enjoys them," he said.
"It stretches the lads mentally and physically and it also gives the coaches a chance to see who can take the lead and solve problems. That can be helpful as we go through the season."
"The lads seemed to enjoy all of the challenges, which is important," he added. "I was really impressed with some of the rock climbing they did and they showed physical toughness when they were taking on some of the more difficult sections.
"I don't think we'll make the England canoeing squad though because there was a lot of capsizing going on during that phase - but it was a good laugh for everybody. Credit to the lads because they really bought into the majority of the tasks. There was an assault course on the last day which was very muddy, so they weren't very keen on that, but apart from that they did very well."
"It was disappointing to have to call the game against Warwick Wanderers off last Wednesday night," he admitted. "We picked a few injuries up against Ryton, and we had a bit of illness after the trip away, and that meant we would have only been able to play with nine fit players. Hopefully it's one we'll be able to rearrange."
"With so many of the lads playing against Annan on Friday night we played a lot of under 16s against Airdrie on the Saturday morning," he explained. "I think we had five schoolboys on at the end of the game and they played very well against what was a strong U19 side.
"We settled down after about ten minutes and started to play our football. We should probably have scored more goals but we couldn't convert our chances. We went 2-1 up then had to really fight for the win in the last fifteen minutes. The lads dug in and got there and that was pleasing to see.
"They're all starting to get to know each other now and you can see that they're taking on board the things we're asking them to do. Winning that game against a strong side should give them a lot of confidence.
"Even though it was a friendly, which everybody wanted to win anyway, the important thing for us is to get the match fitness levels up. It's pleasing to see that is starting to come for all of the lads. There's no substitute for actually playing matches but they've all worked hard during training and they're getting the rewards for it now."
"Next for us is a game against Annan tonight [kick off 7pm at Galabank]," he said. "We'll look for another good performance from what will be a tough test and hopefully we'll see that things are continuing to come together for us."