Earlier this week the club requested questions from supporters via social media for new ‘Gers boss Robbie Horn.
The club’s official website team caught up with the gaffer earlier this evening, ahead of the club’s IRN BRU Round Two cup tie at home to Queen of the South tomorrow afternoon at Shielfield Park, and we kicked off by asking the new manager about the style of football we can expect from his sides, alluded to in questions by Colin Beveridge and David Cook.
“My team at Bonnyrigg enjoyed success with the 4-3-3 formation, employing a central striker and two wide players. Of those wide players, one was a natural on the flank and one wasn’t – yet he was our top goalscorer over the two seasons I was there. At times when we struggled for players, I did switch things up to a 3-5-2 and 4-4-2, but I generally favour 4-3-3 and I think that’s what I’ll tend to play.”
Expanding on his tactical mindset, Robbie continues: “I think a lot of the time the guy in the centre actually finds himself doing a lot of work for his teammates. I spoke to Greg (Rutherford) last night and he admitted he hasn’t scored as many goals as he’d have liked; but sometimes when you’re in this position, you’re the guy in the build up or the one dragging defeners away, providing opportunities for your teammates. That’s a role that’s just as important to the team.
“Horn is of course familiar with some of his squad having worked with the likes of Jonny Fairbairn, Steven Notman and Darren Lavery during his spell as assistant manager of the club under both Ian Little and Colin Cameron. Asked how he will approach the differing dynamic between new players and those he already knows, he reveals:
“For me it’s good to have a few familiar faces and guys I know, but everyone will be treated
the same, and everyone will get a clean slate. Jonny found himself out of the team in recent times so this is a good chance for the likes of him to start afresh – everyone will have the chance to prove their worth and get their opportunities.”
Asked by Ian Beresford how his experience during a successful spell with Bonnyrigg Rose would help him in his first senior out-and-out management role, Horn explains that he’d actually already discussed this with David Burrell and Jim McQueen – the coaching team he has brought with him from the Rose.
“I think it gives you a good grounding. Obviously I’ve been senior before and had the experience as an assistant in senior football, but being at Bonnyrigg really helps you appreciate what you’ve got at a senior side. Don’t get me wrong – Bonnyrigg are a fantastic club and you’re very well looked-after, but at the same time there are things that go with being a manger at that level that you don’t need to do at a senior level, so you kind of value it a lot more when you get to the higher level.
“We’re really looking forward to getting started. I hope another thing that will benefit us going forward is that over the past two seasons we’ve won lots of games of football. We’re hoping we can bring a winning mentality to the club, to instill a belief into the players and help them go get results.”
“I’m of the belief a lot of success stems from team spirit and togetherness, and I talked to the players about that last night when we spoke. I think we need to get into a winning habit – whether that be in training or on a Saturday. It may sound a little bit of an ‘old school’ mentality, but I believe if you’ve got the winning attitude in training you’ll automatically take that into a Saturday.”
Having touched upon meeting with his coaching team, Horn address a question asked by Neil McLain who wanted to learn a little more about his backroom team: “It’s great that the club have allowed me to bring my own guys in. A lot of our success has came as a result of us working well as a team, a coaching team. Obviously we’ve had a lot of good players, but we were part of a management team. I trust both guys massively and that was really important to me in my first role in senior management.
“I like to see myself as approachable and I think these guys are too – they’ll be happy to speak to fans. They’re good guys with a good knowledge of football. Dave played junior football most of his days, and was on the books of Berwick for a little while. He’s a well-respected coach, he’s done his B License and he’s got good ideas about the game. I think we think about the game the same way.
“Big Jim is exactly the same, someone else I really trust and with an excellent knowledge of the game. He sometimes has a different view from me and Dave. I think with us being a little bit younger we might dive in, but Jim is often the voice of reason and I think his added experience will help him prove a great addition.”
Burrell and McQueen aren’t the only additions, after Marcus Godinho became Horn’s first playing addition yesterday evening. Horn explained his thoughts around the signing and his transfer policy moving forward:
“Looking at the squad I didn’t think we were overly covered at right back. We have guys like Steven Notman and Kieran Stewart who can fill in there, but there weren’t many options so when offered Marcus I was happy to take him in – I saw him play on Tuesday in the reserve derby (Hibernian vs Hearts). He’s quick, energetic and tenacious in the tackle so I think he’ll be a good addition to the squad – he’s also versatile so will add to our team in that regard. All credit has to go to Hearts for letting us go through with that deal.
“We’ve got a really big squad now, and some guys might need to go out to get regular football. But at this point as I said, it’s a clean slate for all.”
The interview ends as the media team ask a question submitted by Luke Holborn – what does Robbie want to achieve during his time with the club?
“We want to get out of this league, to be up at the right end of the league competing to go up. I’m not going to make any predictions about this season. I need to come in and assess the squad pretty quickly, but there’s good players there from what I seen at training last night. The way the players trained last night impressed me. If they train like that for the rest of the season they’ll win a lot more games than they lose.
“There’s a lot of good players there and John (Coughlin) deserves credit for bringing them in. It’s unfortunate but these things happen in football and my job is to try get these guys winning games.”
The club would once again like to welcome Robbie and his team and look forward to welcoming them to Shielfield Park for tomorrow’s match with Queen of the South which kicks-off at 3pm. We hope to see you there!