Last season brought joy to East Fife fans, with Gary Naysmith’s men lifting the Ladbrokes League 2 to return to the third-tier after two seasons away. And the Fifers’ forward is confident of success for the club and for their highly-rated manager – wherever his career takes him.
Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes News, Smith said: “It’s still early doors but I’ve been pleased with the standard of performances, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results.”
And the 29-year-old made it clear where he thinks the club’s impetus is coming from, explaining “the manager has set a high standard, and our aim is to become the best part-time team in Scotland.”
But there’s plenty of good feeling around the squad, with the two-time League 1 winner explaining “We’re going into every game full of confidence and are optimistic of getting the win against Alloa [on August 20].”
Despite the Wasps’ being current title favourites, Smith thinks East Fife go into the game as equals, remarking: “I know their squad well, and I don’t think there’s a lot between the two teams”.
Another good season at the Bayview helm could see Naysmith managing further up the Scottish football ladder, regardless of whether the Fifers manage to notch up a second successive promotion.
He said: “I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of high-quality managers throughout my career and you can definitely tell that Gary has the attributes to go to the top.”
“He’s really precise in analysing the opposition – we’re always going through video of them.”
And the affable gaffer’s character has also endeared him to the players, as Smith explains.
“I think his honesty shines through. Whether you’re playing or not playing, he still makes you feel part of the squad. He makes sure everyone’s in it together.”
One word Smith uses which sums up the Naysmith method is “professional”. “For a part-time club, it’s a really high standard and it’s basically treated like a full-time club”, the former Queen of the South hitman told us.
If they can do that, star striker Smith could well run out of superlatives about his highly-rated gaffer.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing