Mouhamed Niang has an interesting past, arriving in Scotland in 2011 seeking asylum from Senegal ( https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/partick-thistle-confirm-deal-inspirational-13265154 ). He played the 18/19 season IRL at Cumnock before going back to Partick. Previous to this he played for Pollok.
15th July – 3rd Friendly v Glentoran
Glentoran ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glentoran_F.C. ) are a Northern Irish top tier team who approached us for a friendly. They have a quality squad compared to us and have a 1.5 star reputation. I think the highest we played last year was Hartlepool, who are also 1.5 star.
We are trying a 4-4-1-1 Cautious Wing Play with our usual Attacking Wingers dropped back, WB as FB and up top as a Pressing Forward. Niang and Hunter start for the first time, and Glasgow plays up top. Not expecting anything from this, just having a look at this as an alternative against better-than-average teams.
FT Civil Service 3 (Clapperton 29, Watson 70, Murdoch 79) Glentoran 2 (Mooney 42, Cushnie 76) Att 157 (35 Away)
Action-packed game, we played the wing play for a half and went back to control possession in the 2nd, and we looked more dangerous with that. Glentoran looked continually dangerous but we pretty scattergun in their approach. Promising signs.
16th July – New Signing
Rory McEwan (21, 5ft 9in) comes in from Stirling Uni on a Free. A solid possible first-teamer with 14 acceleration. Welcome Rory.
17th July – New Signing
Matthew Burrows (20, 5ft 10in) also comes in from Stirling Uni on a Free. A decent right-back and can also operate on the left so really good cover on a pay-as-you-play basis. Welcome Matthew.
20th July – New signing
Aiden Gibb (18, 5ft 11in) comes in from Celtic on a Free. He will currently be our starting right-back. he’s quick and has good mentals for his age. Welcome Aiden.
20th July – New Signing
Bernard Coll (24, 5ft 9in) comes in from East Kilbride on a free, with experience at League 2 level with Queen’s Park. He will be a backup at left back to Mair & Newall. Welcome Bernard. Spending is now at £967/wk so that is probably that for signings. We do have Reserve League and U18 League commitments this year so I think we are now at a good squad size.
20th July – 4th Friendly v Linlithgow Rose
We try our Gegenpress tactic with quite a few newbies getting their first games for the Strollers. Again, no idea how this will go as we’ve had a lot more change in the playing staff this pre-season compared to last.
FT Civil Service 5 (Burbidge 9, S. Mackay 17, 45+3, Mair 76, Lumsden 88) Linlithgow Rose 3 (McLaughlin 28, Gray 36, Watt 58) Att 50 (20 Away)
Pretty mental game all told. 3-2 at HT with the Gegenpress, 2-1 second half with Control, their goals were 2 headers from corners and a break after a poor throw-in. Ours were from everywhere. We definitely look more dangerous going forwrad – loanee Scott Mackay looked very dangerous as an AM in the 1st half. Bernard Coll looked very useful as an attacking WB on the left as well.
24th July – 5th Friendly v Gateshead
Gateshead FC ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateshead_F.C. ) are another club who have been through the ringer financially and they find themselves IRL in the National League North after being demoted to from the National League for financial irregularities in May 2019. In Game they are still in the national league, having finished 5th in the 18/19 season so will be e very stioff test. As such I’ll start with a Cautious 4-1-4-1 Wide versus their 4-4-2 with Niang as an Anchorman. Triallist Steve Docherty starts up front, and he could be very useful with good first touch and finishing.
FT Civil Service 0 Gateshead 2 (Thomson 4, Hunter 58) Att 89 (42 Away)
Interesting game, and the result doesn’t tell the full story. When you sub your Kepper when he’s on a 5.0 that should tell you something, basically missing 2 crosses that were finished. We looked a bit overrun on Cautious Control but really came back into it in the 2nd half on Positive Gegenpress.
57% possession, hit the woodwork, had a clear-cut chance – without the two goalkeeping errors we would have been close to winning this one.
27th July – 6th Friendly v Barrow
Barrow AFC ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrow_A.F.C. ) are another National League team, in game finishing 17th in 18/19 so it should be a good game. We also have a game on Monday so we will be 2-squadding the games, with an almost total change between the 2. We go Gegenpress, lets see if that pressing mentality is as OP as it seems this year.
FT Civil Service 3 (Cairney 23, Burbidge 25, Docherty 68) Barrow 0 Att 101 (32 Away)
Look at the state of that!!! – We looked so dangerous, and played some lovely free-flowing football. very positive, and I’m thinking this is the way we have to play this season, beat opponents into submission. And with a 28-game league season we will have longer to recover so we should be OK.
28th July – I get one of those “x has been showing remarkable improvements” messages – Kieran is now ranked as our second best player after Mark Burbidge.
29th July – 7th & Last Friendly v Peterhead
Peterhead currently find themselves in League 2 after finishing just outside the play-off places in 3rd in 18/19, with Clyde, our opponents in the IRN-BRU Cup 1st round coming 2nd (and being promoted). Again this should be a really good test, and we go Gegenpress again with a heavily rotated team.
FT Civil Service 4 (Burbidge 21, Hainey 83,86, McEwan 90+2) Peterhead 2 (Sutherland 11,48) Att 77 (27 Away)
Again, very very promising, with a load of attacking verve. For the last 40 minutes we went 3-5-2 Wingbacks to very good effect, so I’ll be training that one up. Goals from open play, loving it!!
In the next post we open the season proper with an Away League game v Cumbernauld Colts, who haven’t had an amazing pre-season but I fully expect will give us a hard game. See you then.