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Q&A With… Dougie Bell

Former player Dougie Bell now coaches at both under-19 and first team level, the latter of which includes valuable assistance to Colin on matchdays. Grant Morton caught up with him for the latest in his popular series for

GM: For those who may not know too much about you, could you explain your role at the club?
DB: I’ve been at the club for two years now. Graham Roberts brought me in to look after the Under-19s, then Joe Miller ask me to help out with the first team. So I have been doing two days with the first team and two days with the Under-19s and Colin has asked me to continue doing that.

How do you think the Under-19s look at the moment?
We’ve lost the first two games of the season. We lost 2-1 to Thistle the other night but we definitely have a strong team and there are some good young players. We have already seen Michael Doherty coming through to the first team.

From the point of view of the Under-19 coach, how do you feel about some of your players playing first team football so early?
It’s definitely a good thing. It’s really good for them to get a taste of what it’s like as there’s a big jump from the Under-19s to the first team, especially as there is no reserve team football. The first team games have a lot more pace and are more physical.

Are there any young players to watch out for coming up from the Under-19s at the moment?
Ruari Maclennan spent two years in the under-19s and is coming through now. As his confidence builds he’ll become a good first team player. As mentioned it is a hard jump to the first team but I think Ruari and a lot of the other lads have the ability.

How do you think the first team has performed this season?
I think they have been unlucky. In the Morton game we were good in the first half and against both Hamilton and Dundee the sending offs made things difficult. The Thistle game was horrendous though. We really haven’t had a lot of breaks but it’ll come. I think we have played some not bad football but I do think we need a couple more players.

Looking at Wednesday’s game, do you think the result flattered Dunfermline?
Yes. I think they are a very good team but we had some good chances. When we equalised I thought we would go on to win the game but we lost a poor goal and from then we started to chase the game. The scoreline didn’t justify the good work that the players put in. I do think we need a striker though. We have created a lot of chances but we need someone to put them away.

What do you say to the players after a game like that?
Everybody was disappointed and it is hard. The lads are making chances and you have to let them know that if they keep playing like that eventually the results will come.

Goals seem to be a problem at the moment. Is this something that can be worked on in training?
Colin has been coaching the strikers and we have good facilities at Little Kerse. I think a lot of it is luck and it will change. We have strikers who can do a good job but last year we were short of a finisher and nothing has changed this year. We do have good players though.

How has training been this week?
Fine. We did some good work on Monday and Tuesday and then had a reserve game on Thursday night against Dumbarton where we played a few trialists and younger players. We won 3-1. The players are training on grass, which is good. Rab Kielty is working everybody hard on the fitness side and there is always something different in training.

Is having no game this weekend a good thing or a bad thing?
I would have preferred a game. The lads haven’t had much of a break so it would’ve been good to have a game to keep things going. But we will keep working away until the game against Queen of the South and look at getting a victory.

What is the atmosphere like in the club at the moment?
It is good. The players realise that they have been unlucky.

Do you have fond memories of you playing days at Clyde?
Yes, although it was a struggle for me as it was my first season of going part-time. I think it was the season we moved to Broadwood. I made a few friends that year.

How does the club differ now from what it was like then?
The club has been in the First Division for a few years now and established itself in it. I also think that the standard of player at the club now is a lot better than it was back then.

What would you say was the highlight of your playing career?
When I was at Aberdeen I was lucky enough to win three Premier League medals and three Scottish cup medals. I would have to say my highlight was playing in the European Cup Winners Cup Quarter-Final against Bayern Munich and then the Semi-Final against Waterschei, where I scored and set up three. However, I then broke my ankle and missed the final, so my high and low points weren’t too far apart. I did play in the European Super cup against Hamburg where we won both games.

You were known as being quite a fit player. Is fitness something you want to see in the younger guys at Clyde?
Definitely. I managed to keep on playing into my 40s because I looked after myself, although a lot of the younger players now look after themselves better than players used to. At Clyde we work hard on fitness. I tell the under-19s they must be fit if they want to make the step up to the first team.

Finally, you had a few clubs in your playing days, but where did you prefer, Clyde or Thistle?!
Definitely Clyde. When I was at Thistle we got promoted but you came off after every game with 200 people booing you. Clyde’s the team for me now.