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Well, that is our season effectively over.

There were a number of positives, not least the fact that we still have a club to support and it looks like we will have the ability to remain full time next season.

Next season is shaping up to be a very different one with the likelelyhood of a full return of fans, the possibilities of 4 Highland derbies and a much more level playing field than for some time with three being no single club in the division with resources much greater than all their rivals.

We have a number of positives with the nucleus of a decent settled squad including the ever improving Dave Carson and Daniel McKay now reaching the potential he showed as a 16 year old before injury set back his progress. On that basis, we have the foundation to genuinely challenge for automatic promotion for the first time in three seasons.

However, there is a big decision to be made on the managerial and coaching front.

I have every sympathy for John Robertson and the personal difficulties he is continuing to face and great appreciation for the 100% effort and commitment he has put into the role of manager over the last four years.

That said, we need to take a dispassionate approach and decide whether he is the right man going forward even if he wants to continue with the role.

Personally, and with considerable sadness, I doubt that he is.

We have been treading water and, to an extent, stagnating over the last couple of years and, until not that many games ago, looked in at least as much danger of occupying a relegation play off spot than a promotion one.

There seemed to be to be a clear and obvious uplift in altitude, performance and, most importantly, results when the interim team took over.

My inclination would be to see whether McCann and Dodds would be prepared to accept two year contracts on terms within our budget constraints.

If not, I would be inclined to look for a keen young manager with a point to make and a reputation to establish. Calum Davidson seems to be fulfilling just such a role at St Johnstone and may yet lead a club with a fan base no bigger than ours and from a city no larger than hours to an incredible cup double.

Whatever we decide, it is important that a decision that a manager, new or existing, is in place as soon as possible to prepare for what, if we get it right, could be our most fruitful season for seven years.

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The championship next season could have a Northern Scottish feel if Cove, Arbroath, Ross Co, Dundee, and ourselves are all competing. Add Raith or Dunfermline who are not really central belters then that would only be 4 long away days to say QOS, Ayr or Morton or Hamilton or Kilmarnock. Would it make any difference?

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Still a bit focused on the might-have-beens to think too much about next season.

 

I think the general improvement - there is one - since McCann took over is indeed a thing to ponder.

 

Whoever takes the team into the new season, let's have a half-decent pre-season with fewer hidings doled out to Highland League teams and a few more interesting and testing match ups. As I say every summer, how about ICT v Kirkie Rob Roy?

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I think that's harsh on Robbo. We had a massive lay off due to call off then constant games. I think the players bodies adapting to the change in schedule (firstly getting up to match fitness/sharpness then dealing with the fatigue due to lack of fitness meant it was a slow start). I do believe this team would have been in roughly the same place if Robbo was in charge. Just my opinion but I feel the fixture circumstances were more influential to our form than the management team.

I would be happy with either manager next year but would have a preference for Robbo.

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On 4/28/2021 at 2:13 AM, Stirling Observer said:

I think that's harsh on Robbo. We had a massive lay off due to call off then constant games. I think the players bodies adapting to the change in schedule (firstly getting up to match fitness/sharpness then dealing with the fatigue due to lack of fitness meant it was a slow start). I do believe this team would have been in roughly the same place if Robbo was in charge. Just my opinion but I feel the fixture circumstances were more influential to our form than the management team.

I would be happy with either manager next year but would have a preference for Robbo.

Totally agree. Not only did Robbo have to manage the club in the middle of a pandemic, in circumstances that no other manager in our history has ever had to do, or hopefully has to do again, but he also had to deal with his own personal challenges along the way and the loss of his assistant to illness part way through. And that's before you even go look at the financial side of things and all the other challenges we face there. In those circumstances this season is not one to be judged on! 

If Robbo chooses to continue, and Kells is able to return then no hesitation in them taking the reins again and having another bash at it. Robbo has taken us to the premiership before and he can do it again. They may even be somewhat refreshed after their down time. If either or both decide that they cannot return for some reason, then, despite initial misgivings about both NM and BD, I would be happy for them to continue also, although I think our status in the championship and lack of funds might pose a problem in being able to persuade the duo to give up more lucrative work in the central belt. 

Failing that - then I dont know. We certainly can't poach a manager from a premiership club, our current financial situation would not be a good fit for Yogi and his typical budget demands if Uncle Roy punts him, and other than the usual suspects, I dont have a list of inspired names to trot out. 

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2 hours ago, tm4tj said:

Not looking like it will be McCann

Courier Article

Encouraging signs there about Robbo.

The reference to the last training session confirms the players are off come the weekend too, so there cannot be any indication that the cup final is on the agenda next month.

They all deserve their break after this season and all they have had to contend with.

Hopefully someone remembers to sort out a new contract for Toddy and we have plans to replace those players who are moving on!

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