U20s boss Stephen Craigan is looking forward to see his youngsters get back to Development League action tomorrow afternoon.
The Steelmen face a trip north to take on Dundee United at Station Park in Forfar after they recorded an impressive 4-3 victory over Partick Thistle on Sunday in the Youth Cup quarter final.
And it has set up the manager and his players in a good frame of mind for the match up north.
Speaking to MFC TV, Craigan said: “We’re looking forward to it and I think when you’re in a good run of form and the players are feeling good about themselves and they’re content with how they’re doing, I think every game you look forward to.
“It’s an opportunity and I’ll probably have to mix things up a little bit because there was a lot of energy taken out of the legs on Sunday, so we’ll probably mix one or two up just to try and freshen it up and keep people at the top of their game.”
[pullquote]We’re looking forward to it and I think when you’re in a good run of form and the players are feeling good about themselves and they’re content with how they’re doing, I think every game you look forward to.[/pullquote]
He added: “It’s important when you are in a good run of form that you keep that going, you try and maintain that and the players have got themselves in to good habits, they’re replicating things that we regularly speak about and in every game you want to see that and that’s all part of the young players development – finding consistency.
“We had a light training session today and because the boys had Monday off just to recover, but you can tell that the boys are buoyant – we’ve seen the draw for the semi final and they’re all speaking about that.
“It’s like we’re dangling a little carrot in front of them to say, listen, that’s all ahead for you and you have to make sure that you perform in the league games – we perform away to Dundee United and we perform at home to Hamilton next week to make sure you’re in the side for that cup game.
“We’re not really bothered about who we get, we’ve worked ever so hard to get where we are, the players have put so much in and Sunday was a huge task going 2-0 down and then missing the penalty, there were so many lows in the game at the start and for the kids to mentally cope with that and still have enough to punch back when the game was quite open was pleasing.”
[pullquote]The reason I enjoy working with these young players is that I had the chance to be a professional footballer for so many years and I enjoyed it, I enjoyed the lifestyle and playing in front of the fans, I enjoyed the training aspect of it – everything about it is terrific.[/pullquote]
In light of a number of his young players penning contract extensions at Fir Park, the 20s boss admitted his delight with the development of his squad.
He said: “The reason I enjoy working with these young players is that I had the chance to be a professional footballer for so many years and I enjoyed it, I enjoyed the lifestyle and playing in front of the fans, I enjoyed the training aspect of it – everything about it is terrific.
“For these young players to get this opportunity, that’s the message that I try and drill home – if you don’t do it and you don’t do well someone else will just come along and take your contract.”
He added: “By doing the extra work and being more diligent in your diet and your sleep and all your stuff away from the park, you benefit.
“We’ve seen them benefitting this year because they’ve played well, they’ve been very consistent in their performances and I think they’ve all deserved it – starting from Allan Campbell and Jack McMillan right through to Ross MacLean, David Turnbull and most recently Jake Hastie, there has to be a carrot there for the other boys in the dressing room to encourage them to keep their form up for that bit longer and be the next one to get that contract.”
In terms of team news – Ross MacLean will be out after dislocating his shoulder and Craigan expects to have some first team stars step in to get game time.