"At the start of the season, we set ourselves a target of finishing in the top four this season. With the start we had and the form we were in, we sat top of the table for a long time and once we got momentum going, it was obvious that we fancied ourselves to have a chance to win the league.
Losing a few big players through injuries at vital times and losing Lewis Martin travelling perhaps cost us a shot at the title, but 3rd place, two cups and a further cup final left to play for is still a good season and one that our players should be proud of.
Despite winning against Civil last week, Easthouses beating Spartans, meant that we could no longer win the league and it effectively meant that our role in the game yesterday was to play a part in where the title ended up. As I made quite clear when asked by anyone this week, I had no preference where the league ended up and despite what some people think, the last thing that I wanted was Lothian celebrating on our patch.
Paul and I gave our team selection some thought and with the cup final taking place next week, we felt that we had to protect the interest of our club and rest players who weren't fully fit or those we didn't want to risk. We didn't play our full side and I make no apologies for that, but we still put out a competitive team and one who we felt could win the game. Whilst we did start the game with three 19-yo's and a 17-yo, we still had enough guys out there with plenty of experience at this level.
There's lot of chat on social media regarding our sporting integrity being questioned, but anyone who knows me, or who has played/trained with our team, will know how competitive I am and how competitive my players are. I've never gone into a game wanting to lose and I know that I can say the same for my players.
A league is won and lost over the course of twenty-four games, not one match and whilst our integrity is being questioned at the weekend, I notice that nothing has been said about Spartans resting key players v Easthouses last weekend or Civil Service leaving a number of players out against us the same day. Similarly, nothing was mentioned about us playing five under 20's against Coldstream down at Home Park earlier in the season when we were short of bodies with injuries.
As a club, we pride ourselves on promoting youth and over the course of the season, we've used fifteen players from our youth section in some capacity with James Hainey, Kerr Allan and Sean Melvin playing 46 competitive games between them. Yesterday, we gave a 1st Team debut to 17-yo left back, Coll Reekie and he was one of the best players on the park. I've done a bit work with our 17's this season and Coll, along with a few others have a huge future ahead of them with our club.
So whilst we may be disappointed to finish 3rd after the season we've had, we've won two cups and we hope to add to that next week when we face Lothian at St Marks Park (2:30pm ko). We've signed 13-players already for next season, with us still to speak to a few more. We've made enquiries with a few guys who are out of contract and all going well; we'll be looking to improve upon our 3rd place next season."