Al­bion gaffer aims to outdo ti­tle win

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Back Page - Mur­ray Spooner

Cam­bus­lang man Dar­ren Young says stay­ing in the top four of League One with Al­bion Rovers would be a bet­ter achieve­ment than win­ning the League Two ti­tle.

The Clifton­hill player/man­ager re­flected on his time at Rovers as the sea­son reaches the half­way mark.

The 37-year-old was ap­pointed boss in the sum­mer of 2014 and has since won the League Two cham­pi­onship and climbed to fourth po­si­tion in League One.

Rovers are only five points be­hind lead­ers Dun­fermline with two games in hand but Dar­ren, a for­mer Cathkin High pupil, in­sists his team are over­achiev­ing.

He said: “It’s gone bet­ter than ex­pected.

“If we could stay where we are and try and consolidate this top­four po­si­tion then that would be pos­si­bly even bet­ter than win­ning the league last year.

“The re­mit at the start of the sea­son was to stay in the league but from there you have your own expectations and am­bi­tions and you want to do as well as you can.

“Hope­fully, we can get one or two guys in and boost the squad for the sec­ond half of the sea­son and ob­vi­ously, with the Jan­uary win­dow com­ing round the cor­ner, we’ll need to see what hap­pens.

“If we could repli­cate what we’ve done in the first half of the sea­son in the sec­ond half then it will be an un­be­liev­able sea­son.

“You go into the league and you’re clearly one of the small­est teams, with one of the small­est sta­di­ums, small­est squads and small­est bud­gets. It ob­vi­ously doesn’t help but at the same time we need to work within our means.

“We tar­geted guys who we felt could im­prove and help the squad and could join the guys who had done a job for us the year be­fore. There’s a great team spirit, a great to­geth­er­ness and ev­ery­one has kicked on and they get on really well. It’s been proven in their re­sults.

“Once you go up a league you’re go­ing to be com­ing up against guys who are bet­ter, faster and stronger and have that wee bit more about them. It’s just one of those things that you have to deal with.

“We are con­fi­dent go­ing into the new year and we are only half­way through so we’ve not done any­thing yet but we’re de­lighted with what we’ve achieved and the play­ers have more than held their own. We’re prob­a­bly un­lucky to not have scored a few more goals or to a have couple more wins.”

The Rovers’ League Two suc­cess came 25 years since they last won an hon­our, when they fin­ished top of the old Di­vi­sion Three.

The tro­phy win was only the club’s third hon­our in its 132-year history.

Dar­ren, who has won player of the month awards, un­der-21 caps for Scot­land and was ap­pointed club cap­tain at Aberdeen, ad­mits his play­ers are fo­cused on work­ing hard to ce­ment a place in the top four of the league.

He said: “We’ve a new as­sis­tant man­ager in Billy Stark. He came in af­ter Sandy Clark left and it was great for me to re­cruit some­one who is that knowl­edge­able and ex­pe­ri­enced.

“We started the sea­son play­ing teams in the league above in the cup and from there we lost a couple of bad goals and it maybe dented the con­fi­dence a bit. I think the boys just needed that bit of be­lief.

“I think the boys are en­joy­ing it and there’s a good hon­esty, a good level of work rate and spirit within the team and that goes a long way.”

Al­bion Rovers are at home to Air­drieo­ni­ans on Satur­day, Jan­uary 2.

Over­achiev­ers Al­bion Rovers are en­joy­ing life in League One

Man­ager Al­bion boss Dar­ren Young

Rid­ing high Al­bion Rovers boss Dar­ren Young

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