Monday 6th May 2013

SPEAKING at the Party at the Rock awards event last night, Dumbarton boss Ian Murray praised everyone at the club – players, staff, board and fans alike – for the “incredible” effort they had put in over the past season.

But on a day of satisfaction and celebration at staying in the second tier of Scottish football, he also spoke realistically of the challenges that lie ahead and the coming campaign.

Murray, who has himself received accolades from across the game, and won the Scottish Sun Manager of the Year Poll, acknowledged the support and encouragement he, assistant Jack Ross and their charges had received.

He said that the support of the fans throughout the season had made a “real difference” for the players and staff.

Pointing to the large number of people who had turned out for the awards event, the gaffer said he recognised that “Dumbarton football club belongs to all of you… we, the people who play for and manage are passing through. This being football, one day we will all move on, but you will still be here, because it’s your club.”

Ian Murray now faces the challenge of developing and renewing the team for the 2013/14 SFL First Division campaign, with contracts to sort out and a huge amount of work needing to take place in the close season.

The campaign, which saw the Sons secure their Division One status in the 3-2 victory away at Cowdenbeath the previous weekend, ended on a positive note with a draw and a clean sheet against champions Partick Thistle at the Bet Butler stadium yesterday (4th May).

Immediately after the game, the boss told reporters: “In the pre-season there will be a few ins and outs, obviously, like any club. Next season will be harder, because other teams know what we are about now.”

He continued: “Our opponents know about our strengths and weaknesses, so we will have to adapt our game a little bit and change a few things. This season we were a bit of an unknown quantity, and we were able to pick up; but I don’t think teams will make the same mistake next year.”

Asked about the difference between part-time and full-time teams, Murray responded: “It makes a difference in terms of fitness, especially when there’s congestion in the fixture list. So recently we won three games and then we had another three or so when we struggled. You could tell the guys were really jaded at times.”

“But in technical terms, we have players who are as good as any others, too. The fact that we’ll also have at least one other part-time team with us, among other things, gives us a real chance again next season,” he concluded.

Simon Barrow

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