Alan Geegan insists he is not putting any early pressure on his players following his appointment as St Duthus manager.
Geegan was last month confirmed as Saints’ new boss following a spell as caretaker manager, after the departure of co-bosses Stuart and Andrew Ross.
He has already made a strong early impact, taking seven points from his opening three matches to move the Tain club to within six points of leaders Invergordon.
The 37-year-old, who remains registered as a player but is keen to focus primarily on coaching, insists he is aiming for stability in the early stages of his tenure.
Geegan said: “I’m not putting any pressure on anyone at all. My message is that as long as the players work hard, I will work hard for them.
“I want them to go out and express themselves. After Christmas time we can maybe look at where we are, but after the start to the season we had it’s more about making ourselves a competitive, solid outfit again.
“It’s such a competitive league this year, with everybody taking points off each other.
“All it will take is a couple of results for us to be back in the mix, or we could be back down at the bottom. We will just take it as it comes.”
Thurso will have point to prove
Saints are in action to second-bottom Thurso on Saturday, with the Vikings looking for a new manager following the resignation of Stevie Reid earlier this week.
— Thurso Football Club (@ThursoFC) November 3, 2021
Geegan says St Duthus’ own experience this term makes him wary of what to expect, despite their opponents sitting second bottom of the table.
He added: “I was surprised, I have known of Stevie for a long time.
“It’s a blow for Thurso, but it’s a blow for the league as well as he’s a good guy.
“I dare say the players will be hurting. I have seen the reaction we have had, so I will be fully aware they will be out to prove a point on Saturday.
“We got a draw against Invergordon in my first game as caretaker, and we’ve managed to get two wins since then. We have been creating chances and scoring goals.
“The reaction has been really good. I could see it straight away in training when a lot of the boys were pushing for me to go for it.
“I felt that if I didn’t do it now I might not ever have done it. I didn’t want to look back and regret that.
“It’s a really welcoming club, so I’m probably in the best place to try and cut the cloth.”
In the wake of his resignation, which followed nearly 250 games in charge of Thurso, Reid said: “I would like to thank the club as a whole for the years of support. Just through personal feelings it’s time for me to call it a day.
“I have had some great times at the club before I took over assisting the great man Duncan Gray.
“During my first spell, the two North Caledonian league titles and cups we won are the highlights, and also the opportunity to manage a lot of great players and characters.”
Leaders Invergordon will have a free weekend, after their game against Orkney was postponed due to Covid issues.
Unfortunately our game against @OrkneyFC is off this weekend due to COVID issues . The match we be rescheduled for a later date .
— Invergordon FC (@InvergordonFC) November 3, 2021
That will give second-placed Halkirk United the opportunity to regain top spot when they make the trip to Inverness Athletic.
Loch Ness will also aim to keep up the pressure at the top of the table, with Shane Carling’s men travelling to Bonar Bridge.
Elsewhere, Alness United host Nairn County reserves at Dalmore Park.