Smith hails players after picking up award
East Fife boss is Ladbrokes League One Manager of the Month for December
East Fife manager Barry Smith insists his Ladbrokes Manager of the Month award for December belongs to his players rather than himself.
Smith was given the accolade despite only being appointed the Fifers’ manager on December 13, but five consecutive wins in Ladbrokes League One have set him apart from every other coach in the division.
And after conceding just one goal in four matches in December, Smith has lavished praise on his in-form squad.
Speaking exclusively to http://ladbrokes.com/spfl" href="http://ladbrokes.com/spfl">Ladbrokes News, he said: “It is nice to get a little bit of recognition, but having just come into the job, a lot of the credit has to go to the players.
“They’ve gave me everything in their performances since I’ve come in which has resulted in the run we’ve been on, so a lot of the credit must go down to them more than anybody else and I’m delighted with the way they’ve went about their business, more than myself.
“I knew some of the players and I knew a few of them had played at a higher level, but the work rate and work ethic is something that wins half the battle right away.
"Their attitude towards training and playing has been excellent since I come in.
“We don’t look any further ahead than Saturday’s game against Airdrie. I think it can be too easy to get ahead of yourself and pick up points before playing games. We’re simply always concentrating on the next game and we’ll do that throughout and see where it takes us. "
Smith took over at Bayview following a spell in English football with Aldershot Town and whilst the 42-year-old is fully focused on his current job, he admits a second spell down south isn’t out of the question.
He explained: “The reason I came back up was for family reasons. Due to family circumstances, we decided it was best to come back up the road.
"Would I like to go back down? Well, it’s dependant on whether my family would want to go down, because they’re the most important thing to me.
“But it was a good experience, and I keep in touch with the directors at Aldershot.
"They know what I did for the club when they were going through a sticky patch and the affect I had on the club and everything I did. Yes, I’d like to go back down, but at the moment I’m concentrating fully on what I’m doing at East Fife and it seems to be going well at the moment.
“I went to Dundee and went to Alloa and had success there, but do I want to get back into full-time management? Of course I do, but I’ll only do that if I’m successful here. All my thoughts are on doing well for East Fife.”
East Fife will look to make it six wins on the spin when they travel to take on Airdrie this weekend.
Page has no interest in a step up
East Fife defender is Ladbrokes League One Player of the Month for December
East Fife captain Jonathan Page insists he’d turn down a return to full-time football if it was offered to him after he was named the Ladbrokes League One Player of the Month.
The 26-year-old defender was a crucial cog in the Bayview side’s run of four consecutive wins in December, with the club managing to concede just one goal along the way.
Page’s form of late has certainly been eye-catching, but the former Hamilton and Motherwell player has no interest in a seeking a full-time club.
Speaking exclusively to http://ladbrokes.com/spfl" href="http://ladbrokes.com/spfl">Ladbrokes News, he said: “I enjoyed being a full-time footballer at the clubs I was at, but I didn’t feel it was for me.
"I’ve had a few experiences of part-time football – once at Stirling Albion a good few years ago, and obviously, the last couple of years with East Fife. I’ve found it much more enjoyable and that’s what I want to continue doing in the future.
“For me, I find myself looking forward to my football at East Fife more than I did when I was full-time. It might be because I’m playing a lot more regularly as a part-time player, and that might just go hand-in-hand with how much I’ve enjoyed it. All I can say is that my time at East Fife has been great.
“Enjoying your football is the most important thing. It’s a lot harder to play to your potential if you’re not enjoying it. I certainly want to make sure I enjoy it for the rest of my career.”
After scooping his Ladbrokes Player of the Month accolade, Page praised manager Barry Smith, who was also named Ladbrokes Manager of the Month for December, but insisted survival in Ladbrokes League One was still the club’s priority.
He added: “It’s always nice to get recognition. It’s not what we’re in it for, but it’s an indicator of the team doing well which is obviously the most important thing and this has come on the back of a few good results, so it’s definitely a positive thing.
“He’s only been in a short period, but from what I’ve seen I’ve been really impressed.
"We’ve been organised, the training has been fantastic and I know the other boys have been enjoying it. I’ve absolutely no doubt that if he gets the success here at East Fife, he’ll have bigger clubs coming in for him.
“We’ve started to get a little bit of luck that we didn’t have earlier in the season, but he’s instilled a confidence and obviously we’ve conceded just one goal in five games which shows the defensive improvement and how we’ve made ourselves harder to beat.
“I think it should also be said that he’s carried on the good work done by Gary Naysmith before him and he’s not tried to make too many drastic changes. I think he realised he had a hungry and hard-working team and he just wanted to build on that.
“It’d be a great achievement to get to the play-offs. Obviously, being a newly promoted team, the original goal at the start of the season was to make sure the club stays in the division and that obviously still is be the main priority, but anything we can get on top of that would be fantastic.”
We are delighted to welcome 31 year old midfielder Nicky Paterson to Bayview. Nicky started his footballing journey at Motherwell, with his travels taking him to Canada and the USA, he has returned to Scotland and will remain at Bayview for the remainder of the season.
Unfortunately we lose defender Scott Mercer who moves to Queen of the South. The Directors & Manager tried to keep Scott at Bayview but could not stand in his way as the opportunity arose for him to play full-time football and Scott made it clear this was the path he wanted to take. We wish Scott every success as his journey continues.
The Chairman and Board of Directors wish to make it clear that no further players will leave Bayview during this transfer window.
Ladbrokes League 1, Bayview Stadium, Saturday 7th January 2017
East Fife 1 (Robinson 22’)
East Fife XI: Hurst, Mercer, Slattery, Kane, Page, Kerr, Brown, Insall (Austin 82’), Robinson, Penrice, O’Hara (Smith 72’)
Subs Not Used: Trialist, Lamont, Mutch, Duggan
Booked: Slattery, Kerr
Stenhousemuir XI: McCabe, McCormack (Manzana 82’), Summers, Mechan, Marsh, Berry, Furtado, Millar, McMenamin, Shaw, Cook
Subs Not Used: Hamilton, Runciman, McMaster, Crawford
Booked: Marsh, Berry
Referee: Kevin Graham
East Fife kicked off 2017 with a hard-fought 1-0 over Stenhousemuir thanks to a 22nd minute Scott Robinson goal. Manager Barry Smith made two chances to the side that dispatched Livingston with Scott Mercer and last week’s goal hero Jamie Insall replacing Jordan Austin and the injured Kyle Wilkie. Kevin Smith and Chris Duggan took their places on the bench after long injury layoffs.
Robinson had an early chance to open the scoring when he played in by Pat Slattery but Warrior’s ‘keeper Colin McCabe was out quickly to block. Both teams were struggling to get a foothold in the game however the home side took the lead on 22 minutes. Kevin O’Hara, playing his last match for East Fife, sent a looping ball over the Stenhousemuir defence and Robinson was able to out muscle Ross Meechan to guide the ball past McCabe.
The visitors best chance of the first half fell to Willis Furtado who cut in from the right and was unlucky to see his shot rebound off the post with the ‘keeper beaten. East Fife had a penalty claim waved away on the stroke of half-time. Mercer’s cut back was saved by McCabe but Insall was unable to get on the end of the rebound after being held back by David Marsh.
East Fife started the second half on the front foot and had a few chances to add to their lead. Excellent work by Ross Brown on the right saw him pick out O’Hara 20-yards from goal but his right-footed shot curled just past the post. O’Hara was involved again 5 minutes later when he took the ball past the on-rushing McCabe but the Stenhosuemuir defence were on-hand to clear for a corner before Insall fired narrowly off-target from a James Penrice cross.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes Stenhousemuir pressed for an equaliser with Alan Cook forcing Mark Hurst to turn the ball over the bar with a powerful strike from 20-yards. Stenhousemuir did have the ball in the back of the net but the whistle had blown for a foul on Jonathan Page by Marsh, a decision that left the visitors justifiably fuming at the final whistle.
After the match Barry Smith spoke to East Fife TV:
“We’ve played better since I’ve been here but the important thing was that we got three points. We had to grind out the three points today, which the boys did, and that’s credit to them for working as hard as they did. Don’t get me wrong, Stenhousemuir put us under a lot of pressure and maybe deserved more from the game. When you’re not playing well but come away with a 1-0 win you’ve got to be pleased.”
“It’s not just the defence; it’s the whole team working hard to prevent teams from getting opportunities. So for as much as the defence and the keeper, who has had a great save late on in the game, are doing well you’ve got to hand it to the whole team for the work that they’re putting in to get the results that we’re getting.
Highlights from Saturday's win against Stenhouemuir are now available on EFtv