Heron happy as Un­der­tak­ers show signs of res­ur­rec­tion

NO.1 FOR JU­NIORS

Evening Times - - SPORT - By LIAM BRYCE

LAST week­end’s clash with Glas­gow Perthshire may have ended in con­tro­versy, but Port Glas­gow gaffer Brian Heron reck­ons he saw enough from his play­ers to feel pos­i­tive head­ing into to­mor­row’s game with St Roch’s.

The Un­der­tak­ers had come from be­hind to lead 2-1 at Parklea be­fore the game was aban­doned by the ref­eree fol­low­ing a touch­line in­ci­dent in the 64th minute.

But the ex­pe­ri­enced Port boss in­sists he was pleased with his side’s ef­forts as he set­tles in to his sec­ond spell in charge along­side as­sis­tants Ed­die Wal­ton and Paul Coyle.

“Ob­vi­ously the game came to an abrupt end on Satur­day but there were def­i­nite pos­i­tives to take from it,” Heron said. “We scored a cou­ple of very good goals and played some nice foot­ball as well.

“And there’s also the fact that we had come from be­hind to lead 2-1, that’s a very good sign to have that abil­ity.

“We’ve been a bit up and down so far and we’re still very much a work in progress.

“We’re [the new man­age­ment team] still get­ting to know the play­ers and they’re still get­ting to know us.

“I’m con­fi­dent we’ll get it right.”

Heron stepped back into the Port hot­seat af­ter long-time man­ager Craig Brown stepped down due to work com­mit­ments in July, tak­ing over a side who won a dra­matic pro­mo­tion to Cen­tral Di­vi­sion 1 last term.

A 3-2 open­ing day vic­tory away at Les­ma­hagow was the ideal start for Heron’s men but they then went down 4-0 to league lead­ers Ben­burb on home soil.

A bat­tling 1-1 draw at Thorniewood fol­lowed be­fore last week’s fiery en­counter put the brakes on their re­cov­ery, and Heron is un­der no il­lu­sions that things will get any eas­ier at James McGrory Park to­mor­row.

HE SAID: “St Roch’s are ob­vi­ously a club on the up and have been very suc­cess­ful over the past few sea­sons.

“We know we’re go­ing up against an ex­pe­ri­enced side so we’ll def­i­nitely need to be at our best to get any­thing at all.

“I al­ways look for­ward to head­ing up to St Roch’s.

“We know it’s go­ing to a dif­fi­cult one for us, but aren’t they all? We wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Heron has been boosted by a dou­ble-sign­ing in the form of the re­turn­ing Ross Kearns and Jasper Don­nelly ahead of the week­end tie.

And the man­ager ad­mits he has walked the line be­tween main­tain­ing con­ti­nu­ity from last sea­son’s suc­cess and putting his own stamp on the squad for the new sea­son.

He added: “We’ve not come in and made a mas­sive clear out, it’s not like that.

“There’s a lot of good play­ers here al­ready and what we’re look­ing to do is en­hance that and move for­ward with it.

“We want to start get­ting a bit of con­fi­dence in the boys and a bit more to­geth­er­ness.

“I’m quite con­fi­dent that will come, we’ve got some good boys on board.

“It’s al­ways a plea­sure to man­age Port Glas­gow. It’s my home­town club and it’s re­fresh­ing for me to get back in amongst it and be in­volved in Ju­nior foot­ball again.”

WHILE it’s early days in Heron’s sec­ond Parklea ten­ure, he will know that get­ting points on the board will be es­sen­tial while his team takes time to click.

That be­ing said, the Port gaffer in­sists he has not been bur­dened with any ad­di­tional ex­pec­ta­tions from the com­mit­tee aside from the on­go­ing goal of keep­ing the club afloat.

He added: “We haven’t had a sit­down with the com­mit­tee and set any spe­cific tar­gets.

“But with Port Glas­gow it’s al­ways about sur­vival – it’s as straight­for­ward as that.

“These guys work hard and com­mit them­selves to keep­ing the club go­ing so we don’t set any spe­cific tar­gets.

“It’s about sur­vival and mov­ing for­ward.” where it takes us. It’s a great start and hope­fully we can take it into the next game.”

The brace capped a su­perb in­di­vid­ual per­for­mance from Stones, who also ex­celled in his de­fen­sive du­ties.

The 23-year-old was of­ten crit­i­cised in his first sea­son at City but his dis­play un­der­lined Guardi­ola’s faith in him.

Stones put his im­prove­ment down to his con­tin­ued ex­po­sure to City’s fine ar­ray of at­tack­ing play­ers in train­ing.

He said: “It is bril­liant for my learn­ing play­ing against top strik­ers every day. It is only help­ing me, work­ing with them.

“Then ob­vi­ously to play in, it’s a plea­sure. Some of the boys, the skills they pull off and foot­ball they play is great to watch and great to be part of.”

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