When Rangers Women’s team drew Stenhousemuir there was a pleasant smile on my face. The cup has magic about it regardless, but this is a bit special for everyone and myself personally. As Stenhousemuir first team coach is my good friend and life long Rangers fan Derek Johnston.
Derek has reinvented his life and chased his dream of being a full time football coach, here at Fourladshadadream we have sponsored him on his journey. So this year in his role as first team coach at Stenhousemuir we are once again his sponsor.
So it was somewhat fate that the draw went the way it did! I had a quick chat with Derek ahead of Sunday’s cup tie
How excited are you ahead of Sunday’s game?
Really looking forward to the challenge ahead of us! I said from the moment we progressed, after a 5-0 win over Rutherglen, that we would get one of the top sides and we find ourselves hosting the biggest in my opinion.
Rangers are currently top of the league so a huge challenge, what do you expect from Rangers as they visit on Sunday?
Malcolm Thomson has them playing some good stuff, they know how to take care of the ball and can put on a show when they hit top form. But we have done our homework on them and know what we will need to try and stop them doing in the game. That said, we’re facing a side with lots of investment put into it and women who set the highest standards in their lives as footballers so we know it will take everything we have to come up with a shock result!
Where do you see the main threats in this Rangers side?
For me, the areas Rangers are at their strongest is middle to front. They might rotate a bit against us or they could come full strength having had their own break of late too.
Who are the stand out players from Rangers you will have to stop?
In terms of individual players if they go full strength we’ll obviously have to keep Jane Ross under a watchful eye whilst players like Brogan Hay, Lizzie Arnot, Sam Kerr & Chelsea Cornet are all capable of something special aswell.
Likewise, what can we expect from Stenny on Sunday and who should we watch for impressing from your side?
Things are just beginning to click for us lately, since I joined the club in March 2021 we have been trying to implement the Gaffer Allan Milne’s style of play and it’s probably taken until around November for us to get a fairly settled squad and players understanding what we want to do.
Individually, I’m really looking forward to seeing how all the team perform but I think there are some who can use the game as a chance to highlight themselves to teams at a higher level. Claire Stirling our goalkeeper is a phenomenal asset, solid and an organiser who has great shot stopping ability. I’m also intrigued to see how our centre backs Jude Connolly and Rachel Vickerman will deal with Rangers attacking threat, but I’m also looking forward to seeing how players like oor Lizzie (Eirinn Maguire) and Erin Wilson deal with the challenge of playing the current SWPL1 Leaders.
How have you warmed up and prepared for Sunday’s match?
Last night was our first night back at training, we had planned more thorough preparation however due to myself and the gaffers work commitments over the holidays our planned session had to be scrapped. That said, the team came back in last night and worked hard. They’ve looked after themselves during the break and now it’s just about dealing with the mental aspect. We don’t often get a big crowd and so far there’s 140 tickets sold so that’s something they’ll have to adapt to but we’ll guide them through that in the coming days.
In terms of your own development, a dream come true to be involved in a game of this magnitude I’m sure, but what can you take from this in terms of your own career?
Absolutely a dream come true, it’s these kind of challenges you need in football to gauge where you are at both as a collective and as an individual. It’ll be a learning curve for me in terms of getting a look at a professional setup more closely, but in terms of approach it’s just the same as every game for me. We’ll prepare the team, then really as a coach your somewhat isolated come kick off. I always see the game as a reflection of our work, have we done enough during the week? You only really find that answer during the 90 infront of you. But I would hope to be able to have a quick chat with people like Malky and his assistant Kevin Murphy after the game. These are guys working at the top level in the Women’s game and I have aspirations to get there myself so I’d love to be able to get some words of wisdom from them if possible.
Finally, how can we attend on Sunday?
That’s the part that really excites me! The opportunity to finally get our team a crowd and the level of backing they deserve. Don’t get me wrong, we know many who come on Sunday might not be supporting us but I’d hope even local Bluenoses maybe think twice after the game about bringing the kids along to watch the Stenny after!
📅 Sunday 9th January
Stenhousemuir WFC 🆚 Rangers WFC
🏆 Scottish Women’s Football Cup
🕝 2:00pm Kick Off
🏟️ Ochilview Park
Adults – £5
Concession – £3
Tickets available from Fanbase Clubs app ONLY and can be purchased on this link – http://app.fanbaseclub.com/Fan/Fixtures
Whilst those further afield can watch the game 𝐋𝐈𝐕𝐄 𝐨𝐧 𝐖𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐫𝐬𝐓𝐕 – for the cost of £5 and is available here – http://stenhousemuirfc.univtec.com/home