First Team

"The Unpredictability of it is the Worst Thing"

15th January 2021

Fresh off the back of a midweek visit from BSC Glasgow, club physio Ross Anderson should have been telling us what players might miss the weekend’s trip to Berwick.
Alan Reid and Blair Docherty would have been training hard on Thursday to make sure their names were in the starting eleven.
Instead, all three will spend Saturday at home – like most of the country – as they face a weekend without football.
“I was just in the house – the group chat was going a bit mental,” Reidy told BravesTV over a Zoom call. “Initially, it’s a shock because you want to be out and playing football. You’re cooped up in the house, you’ve got family and work and whatever else but football gives you that wee release, gets you interacting with other people.
“It’s understandable, I totally get it. It’s just a wee bit frustrating. The protocols we had in place seemed to be working, and we can only go by our club, but what we’ve been doing is first class.”
The man behind the ‘first-class’ protocols is Rosco, as he’s known around Alliance Park. With the help of assistant manager Richie Salveta, the club’s head physio has kept cases to a minimum in the Braves’ squad and ensured rules were followed.
“It just popped up on Twitter,” Rosco recollected. “I read through the statement that the SFA put out. I totally understand it was probably going to stop at some point due to the way the virus is going.
“Behind the scenes, we’ve been doing everything possible to make sure the players are safe, the other staff members are safe, putting in the protocols and guidelines and I thought everyone had followed them brilliantly. To get to this stage of the season, we were quite pleased with everything going well.”
Blair backed that up: “I knew the club was so good was so good to restrict everything, and the league was the same.  You never felt uncomfortable going into training or going into games, so I felt alright. Other people, who are outwith football, are not seeing the lengths that teams are going to, to restrict everything.”
“Right from the word go, from when we first came back in, he [Rosco] basically laid down the law and told us what we can and can’t do,” Reidy continued. “As a player, that’s what you want.
“Rosco has been first class. All the boys were following it to a tee, no one was being blasé about the rules. They know there is a global pandemic and the risks that go with it, not just for the players on the park but for the extended families as well.”
With the next scheduled game due to be played on February 6th, it means the Braves will have only played one game in January – a 3-2 loss to BSC Glasgow on New Year’s Day.
“It’s as if we’re going into a post-season, almost,” Rosco said. “During the first lockdown, we weren’t sure if we would come back.
“The gaffer and Richie had already devised some fitness programmes for the boys to do. The boys will be getting that sent out to them, so they can keep ticking over and keep that bit of sharpness. All the boys are fit, I don’t think they’ll lose too much fitness.”
At 32, Reidy has seen his fair share of pre-seasons – but not many winter breaks. “It’s literally the same as the summer, plodding the pavements, getting out and about and keep yourself ticking over.
“Nothing will compare to high intensity training you get on a Tuesday and Thursday and game on the Saturday. Everyone’s in the same boat now. The gyms are all shut so all you’ve got is a pavement or a football park, so you’ve just got to do what you can.”
The SFA’s league suspension will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with the possibility of a further interruption into mid-February or March. A worst case scenario would see the season stopped altogether.
“I think the unpredictability of it is the worst thing,” Reidy continued. “If you knew that after these three weeks it would get back to ‘normal’ as such, then brilliant.
“But once we get by these three weeks, who’s to say that the government don’t say ‘we’re binning it for another couple of weeks’.
“We don’t know, that’s the worrying thing. From the boys’ point of view, we just want to get back playing football. The sooner we do that, the better.”
Despite the doom and gloom, the mood in the Braves group chat is upbeat. They are in constant communication, whilst Ricky and Richie send out fitness programmes to ensure when they do come back, they are well-prepared.
Hopefully, we will see them all again soon.

Share on Social
Back to News