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Q&A With… Michael McGowan

The Official Website’s Grant Morton spoke to the club’s team captain ahead of Saturday’s important match at Cappielow and “Mikey” gave some very interesting insights into all things Clyde…

GM: What went wrong last week?!
MM: I’m not too sure. I think there was a lot of hype surrounding the game. With the new manager, expectation levels had risen. Although confidence has been picking up, it was still quite low. It was disappointing.

I believe John Brown let everyone know how he felt?
Yes. We were told that that sort of performance is not acceptable, and if we continue to play like that we will end up dropping a division, which has consequences for all those involved with the club.

Do you think that the recent changes could have affected the performance?
No. We were all low on confidence and we did get a wee boost with the new manager coming in. You see it all the time with teams getting new managers coming in and winning immediately, but it just didn’t happen. It’s not the end of the world though.

How have things been at the club over the last two weeks?
Good. There have been major changes. Things are being done differently now. We’ve done double sessions of training on Mondays and Wednesdays which have been good and we went over to a boxing coach and did boxing training such as circuits and upper body work.

How has training changed?
The new manager is a lot stricter and has a firm hand over everything. He did it at Rangers for years so he knows how to do it here. We are working a lot harder. Simple things have changed – the boss will stop training to bring in coaching points, such as what foot to pass the ball with depending on where the defender is positioned. It’s only a small thing but it makes a world of difference. The boss has also noticed that we are not quite as strong and fit in the middle of the park as other teams so this has been identified as an area to improve.

The players are now having breakfast and lunch together. Is this beneficial?
It really helps with team bonding. It’s also a good way of maintaining our diets. The manager knows what we are eating this way, especially after training. Before we could have been going to McDonalds after training every day! The manager has made it clear to us that it is our bodies and our careers and it is up to us to maintain them.

Is relegation playing on any ones mind?
No. As captain of this team, I have no doubt in my mind that we will stay up. We are only two or three players off being a very good team. The consistency hasn’t been there this season but we are working hard to improve.

With the recent changes at the club, is your position as team captain safe?
I’m not sure to be honest. I’m not going to take it for granted. I am more than happy to be the captain of this club, though.

How are the new boys fitting in?
They are all fitting in well. This club is a very easy club to settle in to. We are a close group of players. When the new boys came in I arranged a night out at dinner for all the team, to help us all bond and we all had a good time.

Are there any characters?!
I can’t tell yet. Everyone has been taking things very serious, trying to impress the new boss!

Will Dougie (Imrie) be a big loss?
I would have to say so, yes. He’s been a big player for us, especially this season, giving 100% in every game. But he deserves his chance to play at a higher level and it now gives someone else a chance to come in. Life goes on. I think Pat Clarke could fill Dougie’s boots in the team.

Looking forward, this weekend is a huge game. Are you looking for revenge from your last trip to Cappielow?
I wouldn’t say revenge. It is a big game for us. I wouldn’t say it is a must win game, but we can’t get beat. To lose would put them five points ahead, which adds pressure, but a draw would leave it at two, which isn’t so bad. We are improving in training and feeling good. If you look at Dunfermline and Queen of the South, they were down near the bottom only a few weeks ago but have put a string of four or five results together and are now out of trouble. Having the new manager in the dugout should help.

How is morale?
We’ve always had good morale in this team, although confidence was low. But morale is as good as ever and confidence is slowly being boosted.

What are the aims now for the remainder of the season?
I think the manager put it well at the Fans’ Forum when he said that there are thirteen games left and we are looking to win all of them. Winning all thirteen would be some achievement, but we are going into every game looking for a win. Apart from that, I think to stay in the league is the main goal, even if it’s 3rd bottom, but it’s very important for everyone that we are in this league next year. The manager has watched us this season and says that we are underachieving. We are losing concentration in games and then losing them. This is why we have been doing double training sessions; they will help us stay up.

Any messages for the fans?
It has been a rough time for both the fans and the players. I am on my 4th manager in two years, so it has been very hard to get settled. But we are going to do everything we can to stay up and hopefully this time next season we will be doing everything we can to stay top of this league. I would also like to say thank you to all the fans that came to the Fans’ Forum on Tuesday night. There must have been 80-100 there. It shows how much the fans of this club care and it was a very proud moment for myself.