The official website’s Ryan Kyle continued his ‘Q & A’ series this evening when he caught up with Iain Gray, who has recently won a place in the Clyde team.
The former St. Mirren man is primarily a defender, but impressed with his two performances in midfield against Stranraer in the last week.
Thanks to Iain for taking the time to talk to Ryan after training tonight.
RK: First of all, how are you enjoying life at Clyde?
IG: To be honest, I’m delighted to be a Clyde player. After I left St. Mirren, Clyde offered me a contract and I was more than happy to sign for them. The first half of the season, I wish I had played more but the gaffer’s come in, given me a chance and I’ve been more than happy to take that chance.
The team’s form has improved in recent weeks, what do you put that down to?
I think everyone’s trying to impress the new management team. Everyone’s happy, there’s been more players added to the squad and we’ve been boosted by that. I think it’s been a combination of all of that really. The fact that we’re working well and we’re enjoying our football has also helped.
What difference do you feel Jim Duffy and Chic Charnley’s management style has made to the team?
Jim and Chic have made sure we’re solid defensively and doing the basics right. As I said, they’ve brought in new players which always helps as we can rotate things a little bit more. The competition for places has definitely helped everyone play that little bit better as nobody likes to be left out.
Do you feel the supporters are backing the team a bit more now?
I hope the supporters are a lot happier with what’s happening now. The league table doesn’t lie and we know we’ve not been good enough so the fans are quite right to be unhappy with the situation, but since the new manager’s came in I think the support’s been more vocal and we appreciate that.
What effect does having a player like Charlie Miller have on the team?
Charlie’s a great player and the clubs he’s played at tell you that. It’s good for young players like me and other boys in the team who are younger as, if we’ve got a problem, he’ll help us through it and we’ll use Charlie’s experience to our benefit. The boys definitely have a lot of respect for him and for what he’s done in the game, playing alongside players such as Paul Gascoigne and Brian Laudrup.
Do you feel the squad we have is capable of finishing higher in the table?
Definitely, but we’re just looking to do the basics right at the moment. Getting off the bottom of the league is our priority because it would be a massive lift for us.
We’ve seen you play in both defence and midfield, what position are you most comfortable in?
I’m more comfortable in defence as I had never really played in midfield before joining Clyde, but the gaffer said he saw something in me and relied on me to play in there. I was asked to do a job and I felt I did it well. I would say I’m more of a defender but hopefully playing in midfield will also become part of my game.
You were voted Man of the Match on Saturday, how did you rate your own and the team’s performance?
We passed well, made some good moves and, with Stranraer sitting top of the league right now, it was a big step to take. I think we definitely did well to get the win. In terms of my own performance, I just did what the manager asked me to do and made sure we didn’t give much away, and that worked for us.
Would you say we were unlucky not to get a point on Tuesday night?
Definitely. I thought we were very good during certain periods of the game and we had Stranraer looking a bit nervous at times. The second goal for them killed us, though. Then the big guy, Armand One, just hit a wonder strike and that was that. I think we were really unlucky though and we’re improving all the time.
Speaking of wonder strikes, what did you make of John Stewart’s goal?
It was a good ball by Ricky Waddell and a good goal by John, who’s been absolutely brilliant the last couple of games.
Do you think we missed Marc McCusker on Tuesday?
I think we are always going to miss Marc because of his goals and what he brings to the team; strength, speed and ability to get into space. But due to the manager bringing in new players the squad’s strengthened and hopefully that helps the situation when key players are out injured.
We’re up against an in-form Queen’s Park on Saturday, how’s confidence ahead of the game?
I think confidence has always got to be high and we’re doing well just now so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be. I don’t see why we can’t go there, give them a good game and get a result. They’re on a good run and my old assistant manager, Andy Millen, plays for them so I’ll be delighted to see him again. It’s going to be a big ask but hopefully we can get a result.
Will you relish the opportunity to play against Andy?
It’ll be a wee bit strange, having only played against him in training, but he’s a great guy and he helped me a lot when I was at St. Mirren. Even when I came here, he helped me out and I can’t thank Andy enough for that. But when it comes to Saturday, hopefully I’ll get one up on him and we can win the game.
Will the fact that it’s at Hampden motivate the players further?
I think when we come to Broadwood we’re always motivated but if playing at the home of Scottish Football doesn’t motivate you then I don’t know what will. Plus, we got a victory there at the start of the season so hopefully that’ll repeat itself again.
What do you hope to achieve before the end of the season?
Hopefully I can continue to keep my place in the team. I’ve been left out a few times and it’s not a nice feeling so hopefully I can get some more game time and keep doing what I’m doing at the moment.
Anything you would like to say to the supporters?
I’d like to thank them for their support and hopefully you can keep turning up in your numbers to support the boys.