Barry Cuddihy spoke to the official website this week as he helped launch the new red home kit for the 2023-24 campaign. The midfielder reflected on the start to the season so far and looked ahead to tomorrow’s encounter against Bonnyrigg Rose:-
“The League Cup campaign was disappointing to finish with no points on the board so it was really important to take something from the game last Saturday and get off the mark. We won all our pre-season friendlies and played some nice stuff but just couldn’t take that into the Cup. It was tough not to pick up anything and I thought we played well at times across all four games with a depleted squad but we talked about it in depth and learned lessons going into the League campaign.
“I thought last Saturday we were really comfortable in the first half, dictating most of the play and saw a lot of the ball in their half. Then second half Spartans came right back at us and got a deserved equaliser; we didn’t really start playing again until after that goal then it was a bit end to end for the rest of the match. A point was probably a decent a result in the end, it was a big day for The Spartans and we knew they’d be right up for it and trying to make a statement; we obviously want to win every game we play especially to start the season but a draw was probably fair and not a bad result in the circumstances.
“Bonnyrigg will be another tough prospect tomorrow, I’ve played against them twice in the Cup in recent seasons and on both occasions they’ve been really tight contests. They’ve retained the same core of players there and had a good first season in the SPFL, as well as also taking a decent point against Dumbarton too last week.
“The league itself I think will be very tight this year. I don’t think there are any teams that particularly stand out as being head and shoulders above the rest. The past few years as well we’ve been used to a bit of a gap between the full-time teams in League One with big budgets and it’s difficult to compete with them, whereas this season I think most teams will be fairly similar and everyone will fancy their chances of getting some success. It’s definitely going to be a very competitive and exciting league and every game should mean something.”
Cuddihy has started every match so far under new Head Coach Brian McLean and has formed a midfield partnership with Liam Scullion, whilst also wearing the captain’s armband for the last three games:-
“It’s been great with Brian stepping up and the transition has been pretty smooth and seamless. To be honest the changes haven’t been that dramatic; Brian was very vocal in the dressing room last season and he started taking parts of training like the warm-ups and some passing drills, but now he’s involved in a lot more aspects of training and the tactics too, but all the lads are buying into it.
“It’s been nice to build a partnership with Liam; he’s super fit and can run all day, and is tidy on the ball so it makes my job a lot easier! There are a few new faces so we’ll take a bit of time to gel as we get to know each other and how we play our game but there is good competition in the squad and that’s what we need. It just can’t be the same 11 guys playing every week, we need a full squad to compete and we have been missing that so far but Stuart Carswell was on the bench on Saturday and Darren Hynes and Ross Lyon will hopefully be back soon too, so once there’s more competition that will push everyone on and raise the standards.
“It’s always great to take on the responsibility of captaincy, I’ve done it quite a few times over the years and it’s a proud moment to be told before the game. I’m not too vocal in the dressing room and not one to be shouting, we’ve got plenty of others to do that! But I’ll have quiet words individually if needed and try to lead by example out on the park.”
Barry has now entered his seventh season at The Bully Wee, and has made more appearances than any other player over the last 30 years:-
“The appearance record is a good stat and I just want to add more to it! The past couple of years have been difficult picking up niggling injuries and I’ve not been able to get a consistent run but I want to kick on and stay off the treatment table. Despite last season ending in disappointment I was keen to stay on and as soon as the season ended I spoke to Jim who wanted me to stay too so everything was sorted relatively quickly. Clyde has been a big part of my life over the last seven years but I just take things a season at a time and the immediate focus will be trying to get us back up the league.”