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Captain Believes in the Squad

With the league season set to kick-off on Saturday, new club captain Kevin Nicoll took time to speak exclusively to the official website to preview the campaign ahead.

Kevin has had a busy week, also representing the club at the SPFL and Ladbrokes season launch event at Hampden, as pictured here.

The summer signing started the extended interview by reflecting on the Betfred Cup Group Stage – four matches in which he believes showed a number of promising signs, as he explained: “I think the League Cup sections is a good idea as it gives you a few games early on. The teams we drew gave us a good test and it sets us up for the league.

“We’re a brand new team but there are so many positives to take from the competition. We beat Dumbarton, a Championship team, and we gave Kilmarnock a good run for their money, particularly in the first half.

“I think we’ve had a good pre-season and now, hopefully, in every game we play we will be improving and we will try to finish as high as we can in the league.”

Following a career which has seen him represent Stranraer and Annan in the south and Forfar and Arbroath in the north, it was a spell at junior level last season, with a club far closer to his Clydebank base, that helped Nicoll find his love of the game once more:-

“I spent four years at Stranraer, a year and a half at Arbroath, six months at Forfar and another six months at Annan so it felt like all I was doing was travelling; finishing my work at four, travelling for another two and a half hours, training for two hours, back home for 11, 12 o’clock then getting back up for work. I was just getting fed up with it.

“I had offers from other clubs last season but there were three boys from Clydebank, my area, playing in the juniors at Petershill and I was at the point that I just wanted to enjoy my football and play with a few boys I knew. But I think going down to Petershill gave me the hunger to get back to senior level and the fact that it was closer to home helped give me the drive to get back. Hopefully that makes me a better player this season.

“I’m feeling the fittest I have felt in a long time. I only had about two weeks off between last season and coming back for this season, so I went into pre-season feeling the best I have felt in a good few years. Hopefully that will help me out.”

Despite spending a lot of his career in central midfield, the 31-year-old has also been deployed in a central defensive position for The Bully Wee and he believes he can have a positive influence on the team from that deeper role. He continued: 

“We have signed a couple of central midfielders lately so I may play at the back, organising things there, using my voice and keeping things organised. I think if you are an organised team you’re hard to break down and that’s always going to be a lot better –  I’m hoping we can keep a good few clean sheets this year. 

“Me and Martin McNiff can be commanding in the air so if we throw ourselves about and block things off at the back we can then let the forwards and attacking midfielders do their thing.

“We’ve got a right good attacking side and the manager likes the top four or five players up the park to basically have a free role, as long as there is somebody else covering in behind. If we let them do their own thing and they create chances and score goals then at the back we will try to keep it as solid as we can and give them their freedom up top.”

Nicoll played alongside McNiff when the centre half made his breakthrough from the Dumbarton youth team into the first team and the skipper laughed: “I’ve been grooming McNiff for about six years now, since he was just a young pup! 

“At Dumbarton we had probably the best atmosphere I’ve known in a changing room. We had a winning mentality and taking that with us to other teams is psychologically massive and makes a big difference. 

“With me and Martin in there and with us being pals it can make a huge difference – obviously we will be fighting for the team but because we are in there together we’ll be fighting for each other too, so hopefully that can help.”

Nicoll added that it wasn’t just on the park where McNiff was pleased to team up once more with his mentor: “I know that Martin, without a driver’s license, is chuffed with the fact that I’m picking him up at his front door and taking him to the stadium rather than him needing to get planes, trains and automobiles everywhere!”

Finally, the captain concluded with a message for the Clyde support: “We’ve got a strong squad and I think we will do well. It’s more of a team rather than individuals this year so that should stand us in good stead for the season coming. 

“I think we will be a hard team to break down and that is always good. It gives you half a chance and all you then need is one goal up top and we’ve got some great attacking players.

“Stick behind us and we will do the best we can. We appreciate the support wherever the fans follow us throughout the country and hopefully we can get the club back up the leagues again. Clyde is a massive team and we need to get the club back to where it should be.”