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Ross County’s 2010 Hampden heroes Martin Scott and Steven Craig have new goals at Gala

The Staggies duo netted against caretaker Neil Lennon's Hoops in the Scottish Cup to secure historic final against Dundee United.

Gala Fairydean Rovers manager Martin Scott and assistant Steven Craig. Image: Thomas Brown/Gala Fairydean Rovers
Gala Fairydean Rovers manager Martin Scott and assistant Steven Craig. Image: Thomas Brown/Gala Fairydean Rovers

Two of the Ross County stars who shot down Celtic in the 2010 Scottish Cup semi-final are at the forefront of Gala Fairydean Rovers in the Lowland League.

Manager Martin “Jimmy” Scott and assistant Steven Craig, whose goals earned County a 2-0 win over the Hoops at sun-kissed Hampden, are now enjoying life in Galashiels.

There was no silver lining as Dundee United won the final against the then First Division Staggies, but the victory over Celtic – thanks to Craig and Scott’s goals – live long in the memory.

Their next goal is to ensure the side which finished 12th in the league continues to progress and remain competitive in a division which has just seen Bonnyrigg Rose and The Spartans surge up to League Two in the past two years.

Scott’s interest in coaching gathered pace when he enjoyed a spell in the Indian I-League with former Caley Thistle assistant manager and recent Rangers Women’s side boss Malky Thomson at Salgaocar in 2015.

He returned to Scotland to continue playing, but the thirst for coaching kept him keen to continue that path and he’s now 18 months in charge at Gala.

He is helped by the experience of former Staggies team-mate Craig, who runs his own coaching firm, and was an academy coach at Dundee United.

Martin Scott (right) scores Ross County’s second goal against Celtic in the 2010 Scottish Cup semi-final.

Scott thrilled to have Craig on board

Scott is delighted to have Craig alongside him as they aim to get the best from their determined pool of players.

He said: “When I took over, I was trying to build my backroom staff. Stevie’s someone I know really well from my time at Ross County.

“He has learned a lot in terms of coaching experience. He had just left Dundee United, and I invited Stevie in to be my assistant manager.

“I don’t think he’s looked back since. He’s really enjoying it. He has grown as a coach and a person.

“Also, he has a coaching business, which is his livelihood, so he’s constantly involved in football, which is great. He splits his time between his business and Gala Fairydean Rovers. Stevie brings a lot to the environment and the culture we’re creating at this club.

“Maybe it’s fate we’ve ended up working together, given what happened at County and people will always mention that semi-final.

“But now, it is about us helping these younger players, by using the experience we had as players at Ross County, such as the process of building a club up.

“That’s probably what happened when (County chairman) Roy MacGregor employed (director of football) George Adams and Derek Adams was there as manager. They believed in what they were doing and stuck by them.

“Ross County is now an established Premiership club. It has come a long way, but it was great to be part of that process.”

Gala Fairydean Rovers manager Martin Scott. Image: Thomas Brown/Gala Fairydean Rovers

Indian experience wowed Scott

And Scott explained how grateful he is to be in charge of Gala Fairydean, with his experiences as a midfielder being used to good effect as a head coach.

He said: “Gala Fairydean Rovers are a fantastic club. I consider myself really fortunate that I’m in the position to manage this club and team.

“I want to try to improve them and help improve the infrastructure and take them forward. I’m in a really privileged position.

“I’m really enjoying it. Management is something I have always seen myself doing.

“Towards the latter part of my career, I had a spell in India with Malcolm Thomson from Rangers.

“I got a real insight into it, and it was hands-on experience, working in a different environment and a different culture. I really took to it and got the bug for it.

“People knew me as a player where I was maybe a bit of a character at times, but all those experiences I went through as a player and working with the different managers, including at clubs like Ross County, have stood me in good stead.

“I’m hoping to pass on that knowledge to players. The experiences you gain as a player going through that process really does stand you in good stead for when you step into management as you can relate to different scenarios or different things the players might be going through, not just as a football player, but as a person.

“It’s about getting the right people throughout the club and helping people. That’s a big part of it as well as being tactically aware and having football knowledge.”

Lowland League is high quality

Although Rangers withdrew their B side from the Lowland League for next season, Celtic and Hearts are still represented in 2023/24, with Stirling University, Tranent, East Kilbride, Berwick Rangers all teams ahead of Gala in the latest league table.

Scott insists the high standards of players and the determination within the clubs makes it an appealing division.

He added: “Every year, the Lowland League is getting more competitive.

“Some of the clubs within the league have spending powers within the reach of some League Two or League One sides and that’s not over-exaggerating.

“When you look at the calibre of player some of the clubs are attracting shows that, but it also shows they are ambitious. They want to get up the pyramid system.

“There are a good variety of games, which is really helpful. You are coming up against different challenges and different philosophies within each club and you are travelling to different areas of the country, which gives you a different feeling as well.

“There are some really good players within this level, including young players and good, aspiring young coaches who also want to do well in the game.”

There was title delight for Brechin City in the Highland League last season, but Lowland League champions Spartans beat them on penalties in the promotion play-offs. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Brechin will win way back to SPFL

Scott, who has been impressed but not surprised by the promotion into League Two by Bonnyrigg and Spartans, is confident that Highland League winners Brechin City will be back at that level after two years in the HFL.

Brechin won the title last term, fending off a brilliant Buckie Thistle challenge, but they lost their pyramid play-off against Lowland League aces Spartans on penalties.

However, Scott thinks it’s only a matter of time before the Angus club return to the SPFL.

He said: “Brechin is an ex-club of mine. I know how well they are run and I know their chairman (Kevin Mackie).

“They are doing everything in their power to get back into League Two and I don’t think it will be too long before they achieve that, especially after such an exceptional season.

“It is difficult to get through the pyramid system when you have, at times, a three-way play-off. It’s difficult for the team who wins their league to have to come through two play-offs games over four games.

“Brechin were not far away this year and I’m sure they won’t be far away next season.”