East Fife manager Gary Naysmith has paid tribute to his players and staff after collecting the Ladbrokes League 1 Manager of the Month award for September – and insists it shows how much the club have progressed during his tenure.
Naysmith took over in 2014 and despite suffering an early relegation, he went on to win the League 2 title last season and the Bayview club are currently in the League 1 play-off places.
And speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes News, former Scotland international Naysmith was keen to focus the spotlight on the hard work of his squad.
He said: “I won my first manager of the month award in September 2014 and I’ve been fortunate to have won five in the two years since. I think it reflects how well the players and club have done in that period of time.
“If you’ve won five out of 20 or so, it must show the club is doing something right. Obviously I get the award and the headlines, but if the players weren’t doing the business I wouldn’t get it. I can only say a big thank you to my players and staff.
“We’ve played eight games and we’re still finding our feet, but our good results have all been about good work.”
Naysmith also has another theory about his team’s impressive run of results recently, and believes that the new sports performance centre in Edinburgh may have played a part.
He added: “I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence or what, but our good results against Airdrie, Stranraer and Livingston have coincided with us training indoors at the new facility at Herriot Watt.
“The players have enjoyed the surface and the intensity of the training has definitely stepped up – maybe that’s carried on into the games.”
But while East Fife are riding high at the moment, Naysmith is keen to keep things in perspective, and insists any targets haven’t changed since the summer.
He added: “Our simple aim was, and still is, to get ourselves safe from relegation as quickly as possible. If you do that, it means that you can then go into every other game and try and win it because everything else is a bonus for you.
“It’s very difficult to win one league and come straight up and win promotion again. You’ve got to bear in mind as well that Livingston and Airdrie are full-time and Alloa have come down from the Championship.
“We’re in the bottom half of the league in terms of budget, so when you’re punching above your weight in that regard, realistically, you have to be happy.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a great start, but it’s a solid start and it’s been okay.”
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