Over the past three weeks, Clyde boss Danny Lennon has challenged his troops to climb to safety by winning a ‘mini-league’ which he and his staff created at Broadwood Stadium to try and lift the Bully Wee up the League Two table. Five wins in a row have now occurred for the fourth-tier side, breaking a 14-year record.
Speaking to the press following Saturday’s 2-0 win over bottom club Cowdenbeath, the former Blue Brazil boss said:
“They have been an absolute pleasure to work with; the staff, the environment and the conditions that we have created, the boys have responded really well to it. We all know, when you win football games, it makes things a lot easier and more enjoyable, but, what I must say is, for this group of players, it isn’t just about playing football games, they are learning: we have got a willingness and a desire to win. Our success doesn’t just come from playing good football, their work-ethic has been absolutely top drawer, as well as their application.
I seem to be saying it every week right now, but, from the guys in the starting eleven, even to the boys up in the stand, they are all making a massive contribution, in terms of the atmosphere we have right here, at this moment in time – long may that continue, as, Allan [Moore – assistant manager], my staff and I wouldn’t change it in any way, in terms of how we do our preparations and adapting to each game, so, I think, for us to go out there today and make it 5 wins on the trot, it is a great achievement; I believe it is over 14 years since a Clyde side has went and done that.”
Lennon explains how his Bully Wee won a ‘mini-league’ over the past few weeks, which was imperative if Clyde were to pull themselves away from the bottom of the table.
“I set them all a target, three weeks ago ahead of our match against Edinburgh City, as we were basically in a wee mini-league due to us playing all the teams round about us; we asked them to go and finish top of that mini-league and they done that last week, with a game to spare, so this week we told them to finish it off with maximum points – and they done it, with, again, another positive performance with a clean sheet. I thought we played a lot of good football today but had nothing to show for it, in terms of goals in the first-half, but, I think some of the football I saw today was probably the best since I came here to the football club.
The players have grasped everything we are asking of them – and we will demand more of them – as they know competition is healthy: they know there is quality waiting to come in, step-up and to help the team. Every single one of them, you can see what they are giving us. Even when they are coming off, you can see that they are supporting the guy who is going on and that is absolutely brilliant. It takes time to build these things up in a football club but I believe we have got that quicker than some have had, in longer periods. What these guys have done isn’t just brought us that extra wee bit quality, they have also given us competition and that is not me being disrespectful to the guys who were here prior to the Transfer Window opening. It was always going to be small changes, it was always going to take a little bit of time to get these guys playing one way rather than another, and letting them realise they are good footballers.”
Positive strides have been made over the course of the few months Lennon has been in the job, with the former St Mirren manager continuing:
“Myself and Allan saw their quality in training, but then on a Saturday, they weren’t giving what they were in training. I think for a matter of time there, it was just about continually letting the guys know they are good footballers and you believe in them to build that confidence back up: I think that stuck up today in abundance, for me, particularly in the first-half. I think we have a lot of creativity in there today, I felt we were really positive I thought wee Jack Boyle was outstanding in his link-up play; Kevin Nicol, over the last couple of weeks, in terms of his level of performance, has went through the roof: but so has everyone’s, and it maybe is unfair for me to single any one individual out.
We look around and see what we have on the bench there, and it is a shame that we can only get three of them on at any one given time. As I’ve said, even the ones who didn’t play today are still in the dressing room feeling apart of it and that is because they have played a massive part. We are now coming into a very busy period, after next week, as we also have midweek games to play for a couple of weeks, so, the squad is going to be stretched. Long may this continue, we don’t want to rest on our laurels, as we want to continue to improve. I have been chipping away at them, with the wee targets that I want, such as that goal deficit – I think that is down to minus five now, I want that to be down to 0 as quickly as we possibly can. As I said, we have a very, very, happy dressing room, but, it isn’t one which will get carried away as they know exactly where their success is coming from – first and foremost, that is their effort, their application and their work-rate. We need to start games well and earn the right to play.”
As Lennon concludes, he admits that his squad must just take “one game at a time”.
“They managed to see a wee bit of a reward last week, having jumped up a place above Berwick [in the League Two table] and now I think we just need to look at the clubs who are round about us, as I think a lot of people will say our season has already been written off; if we can keep chipping away and progressing the way we are, then we might just surprise a few people. I think where we were 5 games ago, there were a lot of teams above us. Then we started this marvellous run against the two top teams, Montrose and Peterhead. We can’t look very far ahead, there is still a lot of important games to go. We have got to keep demanding and keep pushing these boys to the limit, and, with the pedigree myself and Allan certainly do have, then we certainly won’t be asking for anything less.”