Gowfers have grown, says Ian

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CARNOUSTIE Panmure manager Ian Gilzean took a moment this week to look back over his squad’s performance during their return to the Super League.

Speaking to GazetteSport Ian said: “In overview I think we’ve got to be really happy with the progress we’ve made this season.

“We started really well and I think we scored six or seven goals in the League Cup games and qualified for the semi-finals.

“It was looking really good, a good start to the season and then we seemed to hit the skids for the next two or three months.

“We had a few players out injured, we had players missing, we didn’t have the fittest of squads, a few players had a bit of a dip in form at times and that really affected us.

“We were on a bad losing streak. You know, you can get on a winning streak, but you can also get on losing ones. I think Christmas came at the right time for us.”

A recovery in form in the New Year against Lochee United and Linlithgow Rose seemed to signal a change in fortune, but then came the game against Camelon which the Gowfers lost 4-1 at home.

The boss went on: “We just didn’t have enough battle. I’ve said it a few times, that was the turning point of our season, because we still had 10 games to go and if we continued to play in the manner we did that day then we were going to go down.

“There were no ifs or buts or maybes about it, if we continued on that streak we would have got relegated.

“I went into that dressing room with Crispy [Graeme Christie, assistant manager] and told the players a few home truths about their performances, about their attitude, about the way they were training at times, the commitment levels.

“With their co-operation we managed to turn it all around. I don’t think anyone with 10 games to go would have given us much hope, but I still believed in the players.

“I told them after the Camelon game: ‘We’re good enough to get out of this and we’ll stay up’, and we did.

“I think that comes down to the boys knuckling down and working hard and just getting on with playing football.”

This season has been a learning curve for Panmure. Ian explained: “You have to apply yourself in every game. There are no easy games at this level. You’re playing against a lot better players and if you make a mistake you’re going to get punished.

“It’s a tough league, but again we’ve shown that we’re good enough to compete at that level and that’s what we need to take from it.”

Deciding on his high point of the season was an easy choice for Ian. He said: “I think the highlight was beating Bo’ness and getting the three points we needed to stay up.

“We were running out of games and we still needed the points, so to finally get the points we needed to stay in the league was the biggest one.”

Predictably, the Camelon game rated as his lowest point, but the gaffer was quite philosophical about that time for the club.

He said: “At times you need to hit rock bottom before you can start climbing up again and that’s what we did. When you’re that low there’s only one way you can go. We couldn’t have got any worse than that, we could only improve, and we did.”

Next season Ian is looking to make an impact in the league table and maybe add some silverware to the cabinet.

He said: “You want to pitch as high as you can, you set out to win the league. It’s no good going out with the attitude of ‘I just want to survive’. We want to be up there challenging. We’re not a million miles away.

“We’ve not had a decent run in the Scottish Cup since I’ve been at the club and I think it would be nice to win a few games and a get a little bit further in that.

“If we can get the right players in and keep hold of the right boys, then who knows where next season will take us?“