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Andy Mcclay Interview

Midfielder Andy McClay is finally nearing full fitness, and he kindly took the time to give the website this extended interview, which Clyde fans are sure to enjoy reading…

Firstly, how is your injury and your fitness coming on? – My fitness is good actually. The injury is still giving me some twinges, but I spoke to the physio tonight and he says it’s basically just pain from where my knee was drilled during the operation. That’s not a problem and it should disappear in a couple of weeks. I’m going to play 20 minutes minimum at Livingston which will help. Saturday was the first time I’d kicked a ball in 9 and a half months, so it’s good to be back.

How difficult have the last 2 seasons been and what did you do to keep your spirits up? – It was a nightmare. I’d never been injured before that, I went six years at Maryhill without picking up an injury, then my first two years at Clyde was the same. Last season I’d put on a lot of weight while I was injured, because it was a back injury, so I had to work hard to get fit but this time it was more of a mental thing. If you’re not mentally strong you’d just give in so I had to be determined. Being part-time made it even harder as well, I had to get down to the gym a lot in my spare time. Thankfully now I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully the fans will see that I need 5 or 6 games to get back to proper match fitness, because you need a run of games to get back to 100%.

How do you rate Alan Kernaghan as a manager? – I think he’s been excellent. When new managers come in they are always going to bring their own people in. Alan has never seen me play, except 20 minutes at Firhill, so he could have easily just let me go and brought in someone else. But he’s been fair and given everyone a chance, and he’s said to me that he’s been pleased with my attitude and work rate which is all I could show him up until now. So I can’t ask for anymore than that. He’s clever and knows what he is doing. For instance, if a player is struggling a bit with an injury, he’ll give you a couple of days off rather than losing you for 2 or 3 weeks when the season starts. He doesn’t put pressure on players to recover from injuries too early.

Do you think Clyde have a genuine chance of the title this season? – I do, yes. I’m not going to say too much, but I think the squad here is as good as any other squad in the league. It’s going to be very open. St.Johnstone will be strong, and I think St.Mirren and Falkirk will also be up there. We’ve been in the First Division for two years now and have established ourselves, so there’s nothing to stop us doing a bit more. There weren’t any teams that outclassed us last season, but we struggled with injuries. If players like Mark McLaughlin and Bryan Smith get a bit of luck this year and everyone stays fit we’ll do well.

What have been your best and worst moments as a Clyde player? – The best moment was definitely winning the 2nd Division, and the worst was the last two years!

Which player at the club do you rate the highest? – It’s difficult to say. There are numerous players here that I rate highly. At the moment I like Simon Mensing, I haven’t played with him yet but watching him I think he’s done really well. I’ve always liked Marko as well.

When you first came to Clyde, the team spirit was a real asset. Do you think it is still there now? – It’s hard for me to say being part-time, because we don’t see the main squad a lot. As far as I know there is a good atmosphere in the squad at the moment, and it’s a smashing group of guys. It’s important that everyone is together when we step out onto the park.

Have you, or would you, consider going full-time at Clyde? – No. I’ve got too good a job which I’ve had for 11 years. I’ve got a family to support so it would be too difficult for me to go full-time. The job provides security but you never know what can happen with football. I would have loved to have tried it when I was younger and made a good go of it but it’s too late now.

With Pat going full-time, there are only 4 part-timers left. Do you see this as a problem? – I don’t see it as a problem but it’s difficult sometimes. Training with four isn’t ideal but we’ve done it for a year now. Hopefully the youngsters in the Under 18s will join in our training sessions, because it’s important to get some games played during the week. Alan, Billy (Reid) and Andy (Millen) look after us well so I’m sure we’ll be ok. The important thing for the part-timers is that we get involved on a Saturday to help with the fitness side of it.

Is there anything else you’d like to say? – The most important thing now is that the fans get behind everybody, especially the management team. I think some people still have issues over Ronnie and Allan’s departure. No disrespect to them at all, they won us the league which you can’t take away from them, but it’s time to move on and back the team. It’s time to back who’s here now – the difference the fans can make is huge. It doesn’t matter if there’s 500 Clyde fans or 20000, if they get behind the team it makes all the difference to the players on the park. You can hear the fans when you’re on the park, and some players really take to heart what is said, especially the younger guys. All I hope for next season is that everyone goes in the same direction.

Our thanks to Andy for the extensive interview.