Caretaker coach reserves judgement

Dunfermline Reserves played their first league match of the season at North End Park on Tuesday and it was Dunfermline Athletic’s Chief Scout, Gary Montignani who took charge of the match due to the absence of Greg Shields. Greg was undergoing a Youth Elite Licence course so Montignani was joined by first team player Joe Chalmers as his assistant for the game. Despite the final score resulting in a 1-0 defeat for the Pars, Gary shared his thoughts on the team’s performance, individual player developments, and the broader significance of the Reserve League.

Team Performance 

I thought it was a good game.  Just the result was wrong and I said to Joe as they built up at the setplay that they had a massive height advantage. We were disappointed slightly that it came from the second phase of the corner but overall I thought we were excellent. For us to discuss a team shape on a board and for the guys to go and implement that was excellent especially out of possession.

“We tried to mirror the way the first team play for that to benefit the young ones that are coming through with wing backs trying to be as high as possible and press as wingers. I thought we implemented that very well. We limited them and I think their goalie had more to do than Max Little, which on the balance of play we are quite happy with.

“Overall we are quite happy. I don’t think the Reserve League is all in all about results. We are football people, we want to win games but what we got out of the game today was a big win for us.”

Key Player Performances:

Gary Montignani highlighted the significance of giving first-team players valuable playing time in Reserve League encounters. Kane Ritchie-Hosler, in particular, was singled out for his outstanding performance. Montignani praised Ritchie-Hosler’s resilience in recovering from an ankle injury and praised his contributions during his 76 minutes.

“Kane will be the star of the show obviously. It has been a tough road for him getting injured so early and there are a lot of tough days when you are in the gym yourself. Credit to him and credit to the medical department for getting him back so quickly.

“I think we saw more shades of Kane in the second half when we got him wider and isolated full backs one to one. We asked him to go and play with a smile on his face and I thought he was excellent throughout. It is great to get him back.”

Furthermore, Montignani pointed out that other first-team players, such as Paul Allan, Miller Fenton, and Chris Hamilton, benefited from the game time. Chris Hamilton’s leadership on the field was particularly praised. Montignani also highlighted the positive impact of experienced players on the younger apprentices – Liam Hoggan, Ewan McLeod, John Tod and Mark Beveridge – emphasising the learning value of playing alongside more seasoned teammates.

Ben Summers Shows Promise

On loan Celtic player Ben Summers played 72 minutes in this game, the week when he was called up into the Scotland under 21s squad to face Spain on 11th September. Gary continued:-

“I am delighted for Ben, he has been in and about the squad but it is very clear for anyone at the football club to see the quality that he has got. In spells he caused them real problems. Their centre half didn’t know whether to drop in and go with him and we saw his quality when he gets on the ball. He is going to be a big player for us and I think the Reserve League gives us the opportunity to keep these guys ticking.”

Developing Young Talents:

The Chief Scout stressed the importance of the Reserve League in player development and cited examples from last season:-

“Last year you saw guys who came and had a run in the team then went on to impact the first team. We were looking at it only the other day – only Deniz Mehmet and Josh Edwards were the only two players who didn’t play reserve football last year. That is what the Reserve League does for us. If it keeps these guys sharp and into first team games at the weekend, then we are delighted with that.”

Assistant Coach for the day

Montignani praised Joe Chalmers’ role as his assistant for the game. Chalmers, who is experienced as a player, shared valuable insights from the perspective of being on the field. Gary closed:-

“I think he thoroughly enjoyed speaking in front of a group for the first time. You can see in a first team game his reading of the game, he knows the game inside out. Certainly I learned from his insight, he was excellent and I hope that he enjoyed it.”

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