Craig: ‘Coughlin’s Arrival Changed Things’

Goalkeeping coach Jonathan Craig has heaped the praise on ‘Gers boss John Coughlin for his part in a turnaround which saw the ‘Gers finish the League Two season as the division’s form team.

Jonathan revealed: “John came in and he really instilled a desire into the players. He made us hard to break down and very difficult to beat.

“In training, the tempo increased and so did the intensity. But it isn’t just mentally that he’s improved us. Tactically he changed the whole shape of the team and that helped us to an incredible run of clean sheets.

“We only conceded 3 goals in the final 11 games and a lot of that work came from working on our shape on the training ground.”

Jonathan, who is also works at Hibernian’s academy as a goalkeeping coach, also admitted that Coughlin’s arrival at Shielfield has seen him take on more responsibility behind the scenes – something that he relishes.

“Colin Cameron called me out of the blue on the recommendations of a few other goalkeeping coaches I know.

“So when John came in he had a decision to make on my future, but I’ve found our working relationship to be absolutely first-class.

“From the day he came in he set his stall out. We discussed the form and fortunes of our goalkeepers and he trusted me to get on with things in my own way, letting me work with Kevin and Mark to try improve what was a poor defensive record.

“And on a match-day my role has probably been more prominent, too. He trusts me to deliver his requests and what he wants from our goalkeeper, whilst letting me getting my own points across, too.”

Expanding further on his career, Jonathan continues: “I’m loving life at Berwick at the minute. My longer-term aim is to coach full-time again. I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve been able to do that with Hearts under 19’s and reserves for six months, and I’ve also had a brief spell with East Fife.

“I’d naturally love to reach the highest level. I’m studying for another coaching badge and hope to complete them in the next week so I’m always improving as a coach.

“But immediately I just want to concentrate on Berwick being successful. I do think about the future but I like to keep myself very much in the present and getting the best out of the ‘keepers I have now is always my priority.

“I’ve had a great time with Berwick so far and I’m delighted I’ll be around again next season – it’s a fantastic club full of fantastic people.”

And the coach’s passion for goalkeeping also extends to business, as he finishes: “I also have an academy up in Newtongrange, Jonathan Craig Goalkeeping Academy.

“It’s a great laugh and a few of the boys have been down to Berwick over the past season and enjoyed it, I’ve no doubt we’ll do that again this season, too. It’s a great school and a real laugh!”