Pic: Phil McCloy | Scotzine.com
With the SWPL season in its mid season break, players and coaches alike take a breather from the rigours of the season thus far. Hamilton Accies head coach Kevin Murphy gives us his opinions on the season so far.
The season for some has thrown up a few surprises with Rangers’ form being exceptional and Forfar losing out in a top six finish despite finishing second last season.
Rangers strengthened really well at the start of the season with some experienced international players and with that mix of young talented players they have then I am not too surprised over their sudden rise through the league placings.
Angie Hind is a hugely respected coach and one I admire as she has brought about a real freshness to the squad and it is paying dividends so far.
Forfar will obviously be bitterly disappointed in their season at the mid-way point after their terrific run of form last season. Mark and the players performed so well last season and deservedly finished the best of the rest behind the current champions Glasgow City.
I know they have had a few injuries to contend with and maybe lady luck hasn’t been on their side of late, but it goes to show the trials and tribulations which football as a sport can throw up. It is a real life rollercoaster and for managers and players alike it can be testing at times. I have no doubt Forfar will bounce back for the second half of the season and I look forward to coming up against them in the league on two more occasions.
However, I wish that our forthcoming encounters with Forfar were in the top half of the table but sadly that isn’t the case. Our season so far has been a mirror image of our season last year. We have had some terrific team performances this season sandwiched between below average ones as well.
The lack of consistency unfortunately has ultimately cost us our place in the top six with all coaching staff and players gutted that we didn’t achieve our target of making it into the elite six clubs to compete in the season run in.
Similarly to last year setbacks and disappointments, it can also bring the best out of people. Last season the squad of players reacted brilliantly to the adversity we suffered and went through the whole of the second half of the season unbeaten, only drawing once.
It was this type of reaction from the players that you then start to see improvements this squad has made. The squad now face a similar set of circumstances and as manager I am expecting the same reactions and attitude from them which we saw last year.
We will sit down together as a squad and discuss the season so far and what we all can do to help us improve as a unit. In a way I enjoy these challenges and you start to see people’s characters come to the fore and who can handle the responsibility.
The league is continually improving each year and that is highlighted by Aberdeen’s form since being promoted back into the SWPL making the top six for two years running. Games against the so-called minnows are getting tougher which we saw for ourselves suffering a 5-4 defeat to the hands of newly promoted Buchan.
The truth of the matter is that the standard is getting better and teams do not give up. It means that we need to be at our best every week in order to take points from games which aren’t always an easy thing to do. Teams who have been promoted in the last few seasons have competed and that is credit to them as a club.
So as the first game approaches after the mid-summer break it will be interesting to see how all clubs come back and perform although the only team I am concerned about is my own club.
I relish challenges as do the squad of players I have, so we are all looking forward to the second half of the season and what it will throw up. However it is no secret that hard work and dedication will be key in order for any team to be successful come November.