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Graeme McArthur and his squad had their first test of season 2014/15 last Sunday, which saw the ‘Steelwomen’ romp to an emphatic victory over Third Lanark.
An early kick off in Castlemilk saw both teams take to the pitch at the start of their league campaign.
Both sides needed to adjust quickly to difficult pitch conditions, but despite working hard throughout pre-season, Third Lanark were unable to make a dent in the MLFC armour.
It didn’t take the Fir Park side long to get off the mark with an early goal…and so it began.
This game was absolutely one for the fans with a barrage of goals coming thick and fast. 90 minutes later and Well ladies found themselves counting on fingers and toes as the full time whistle blew.
Manager McArthur said “I am extremely pleased we left our mark here today. Credit to Third Lanark who kept fighting right to the final whistle. Although I am pleased and we completed the job, the players and I are under no illusion that we were far from our best today but difficult conditions meant the players needed to adapt and that they did. (This is the) First game of the season and we have a long way to go. The hard work continues at training on Tues as we prepare for our 2nd round cup game away to a well-organised Dundee City side.”
Third Lanark 0
Motherwell LFC 13
Goal Scorers: Pamela Liddell x4, Nicole Goodwin x1, Karen McInally x2, Mandy Burns x2, Toni Mason x1, Demi McCulloch x1, Tracy Burns x1
This week I had the opportunity to speak to Manager Graeme McArthur and get a little inside info on what’s going on behind the scenes at MLFC.
You have had a busy preseason Graeme, can you tell me a little more about what’s been going on at MLFC?
Busy, but certainly productive. We managed to retain the players we wanted to keep and take the club forward, which I was obviously delighted with, as well as being able to bring in seven quality additions.
We have also implemented some changes within training and our pre-season planning, which I think will be of great benefit as the season moves forward.
All in all, pre-season was an exciting time for the club which allows us to now kick on into the start of our competitive campaign.
You have clearly done your research close season, you must be pleased with the players you have secured and the squad you have formed for the coming season?
I am absolutely delighted with the players we have brought in, all of whom who have played at a much higher level if not the highest within the SWPL and international honours on top of that.
Some of the players we were able to bring in were players that caused us problems last season to play against and we quickly identified these players as people that have the right attitude and great ability on and off the pitch which will help drive this club forward with the players that we already have here.
Not only will these players add to the playing side but also are great to have around the squad for the younger and perhaps less experienced players to learn from.
You have a lot of players now who bring a wealth of experience to the squad, how do you see that playing a pivotal role this season?
I think it’s massive and something which I really felt we lacked at times last year in terms of the depth of our squad.
Last year was a good starting point for us in finishing 3rd and having the 2nd best defensive record in the league however, we didn’t have a full squad I felt that were ready to really mount a challenge for the league and the cup and this was proven in our inability to really do that.
Whilst it’s never nice having to move players on to find another club that have worked hard and put the effort in to improve, it’s something that we had to do in order to get the most out of everybody. This year we are only happy with winning and achieving things that the club deserves and nothing else will be good enough.
I certainly now have a squad that will make sure they will do absolutely everything to ensure this which I obviously feel is great.
How has your pre-season been? Has your squad had a chance to gel in recent weeks?
Pre-season has been good yet frustrating in that we didn’t get enough games in for my liking after getting a bye in the league cup.
The games however were very beneficial that we did play and I was delighted with the nature of our performances with a new squad. During our pre-season, we played last year’s overall national 2nd division winners and were very comfortable both in terms of the result and our performance, a well-established SWPL side who we held to a draw and also another 2nd division development side who had dropped a few SWPL players down as they didn’t have a fixture that weekend and we won comfortably in the poorest of conditions.
Training has really allowed us to gel though as we have certainly been able to up our tempo in comparison to last season due to the overall quality the squad now has.
Not only have you secured new players, but also secured previously signed players for the new season, but I also hear you have welcomed another coach and sports scientist to the ranks?
I am absolutely delighted to have Malky Taylor and Sunnan Shah working with the squad this season. Malky brings a wealth of experience and is a great guy to have around the place. Sunnan has been brought into work with the players on their fitness.
Sunnan has studied in this field and is a welcome addition to the coaching staff. Both have made a great impression already this season and I look forward to working with both throughout the season.
Are you looking to add further to the squad or staffing team for the upcoming season?
We never stop looking for ways to continually improve so if the right person comes up for the right role then there would be no hesitation in adding to our staffing structure or squad list.
What are your aspirations for the season ahead and without giving too much away, how do you hope to achieve these?
Success really, winning leagues and trophies with this squad of players and there’s no real formula for it apart from working hard individually and collectively and sticking together.
What is your philosophy for the season and what do you expect from your current squad?
My philosophy is fairly simply in that I want this group of players to be the best that they can possibly be and have the ambition and drive to better themselves and the club in everything that they do. My expectations are high because I know they are good enough to deliver.
Thanks Graeme for taking time out to answer some questions for the fans…
You are very welcome, I am always keen to encourage our fans to embrace what we have going on here at the ladies set up. I am also keen to encourage everyone to attend games this season and can I take this opportunity to offer a season’s invitation to everyone out there. I would love to see you along to cheer on the squad.
Thanks again Graeme, I will catch up with you later in the season but for now, all the best to you and your squad with cup and league campaigns to come.
The ladies faced Dundee City in the Division 2 Cup this afternoon and ran out 9-1 winners. We’ll give you the rundown in Blog 12 this coming week.
For all the latest news and happenings at MLFC, follow me on twitter: @dibsy_