What you need to know
So here we are, the start of a new campaign. The last few seasons have brought its fair share of excitement – an extended run in the Scottish Cup, being crowned League Two Champions, whilst last season narrowly missing out on the play-offs into the Ladbrokes Championship – it would be a fair assessment to say it has been an incredible few years for the club.
We mustn’t however rest on our laurels, everyone involved in the club once again needs to play their part this campaign to make it another season to remember, in what has been perhaps the greatest few years of the clubs history.
We start with Championship side Greenock Morton today in what is the first ever weekend of the newly formed Betfred Cup Group Stages. Managed by former Partick Thistle player Jim Duffy, Morton enjoyed a solid campaign last season, finishing 5th in the league, whilst progressing all the way to the Quarter-Finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup before losing to St Johnstone.
During the Tons’ Scottish Cup run, we met them in the 5th round, Morton coming out 2-0 winners that day in horrendous conditions. Although Rovers will without doubt be hoping for a different result, player/manager Darren Young suggests it’s likely to be a similar game to the one earlier in the year.
“We will expect the same type of game that we had against them last year. They are a full time team in the League above so naturally they will be favourite’s but its up to us to unsettle them, show our own strengths and hopefully score a few goals.”
“I think everyone players, coaches and fans are all looking forward to the season starting now. Overall we feel the fitness and match sharpness has improved with every game against tough full time opposition.
“I think we’ve got a stronger squad now and all the players that performed so well last season have that extra years experience from playing. We are still looking to add at least another 2 players to the squad.”
Young added: “The under 20’s boys have also done well when called upon. They will get their chance if they are performing well in training, doing well in games and showing the right attitude.”
Whilst at times Rovers achilles heel was scoring goals, that certainly didn’t look the case in pre-season, with new strikers Calum Ferguson and Ryan Wallace showing up well so far. However, could this see a change in the teams shape to accommodate both players?
“We will chop and change systems and formations during the season.” Young commented.
“Players will be unhappy being left out, but we will pick teams on a game by game basis. The way we play we expect a lot of movement from the midfield and in the wide areas so once were attacking we may indeed end up with 3/4 players in forward areas.”
With a new season providing a fresh start, Young is desperate for the success to continue and also see an increase in the clubs fan-base.
“Things are going well on the pitch and the players and backroom staff are working very hard to equal or better last years performance. The community side of things, with First Team Coach Tony McMinn in charge, things are now taking off and our community relations has improved massively since he has came in.
“We’re going into schools, having kids camps at the stadium and so many other things. We’re trying our best to get back in touch with the community as there is a feel good factor and massive potential to help and grow Rovers.”
“We would love the fans to come out and back us in even greater numbers this season. The last two campaigns we have won a title and broken the highest points total record. Now, just by staying in the league, we’ll break another record and officially become the most successful team in the clubs history.”
He concluded: “Seasons and times like these don’t happen very often and we need your help to allow it to continue for as long as possible. This would be an amazing achievement for everyone involved with the club and we’d love it for fans – young and old – to help us out by coming along and taking the opportunity to be part of a club where you can really make a difference. Part of something special.”