Westdyke Ladies head coach Jonathan Watt has praised the contribution of his young players after they rounded off their Championship North campaign.
The Westhill side finished Championship North second-bottom in seventh place, but were 16 points clear of basement side Dundee City West.
Westdyke ended the season with five wins and one draw, but Watt reckons their season is better evaluated by the progress the players have made.
With an average squad age of just 19 years old, he believes Westdyke consistently improved over the course of the campaign as the young players found their feet.
“The biggest highlight for me is seeing the younger ones coming through. From where they were at the start of the season to now – it’s like chalk and cheese,” Watt said.
“With the development that they’ve shown, the ability within the squad is a lot better.
“To see that they’re taking things on board and doing what we ask of them – it’s all you can ask as a coach.
“It was daunting for them the first time we played the top teams. You could tell they already felt like they had lost the game before they stepped onto the pitch.
“That mentality changed pretty quick. After the first game, they started to think about it being just 11 v 11, and realised they are good footballers.
“That’s why we started to compete better and improve against these top teams.”
‘Organisation, commitment, and hard work’
Although Watt admits that on paper Westdyke’s league position looks disappointing, his evaluation of the season is much more positive.
He feels they’ve shown how competitive they are against the teams in and around them, while also showing they’re not too far from contesting with the top sides.
Watt added: “If you look at it in black and white, it does look disappointing.
“But, being in amongst it, we know the likes of ourselves, Buchan and Grampian can all take points off each other on our day and we all did that.
“We were consistently competitive against those sort of teams.
“And we’ve seen this season – each time we’ve played the top teams (Montrose, East Fife, Dryburgh, and Inverness), we have done better and better.
“Our aim was to do that, and we were able to do that nearer the end of the season even when we were struggling with players.
“The organisation, commitment, hard work, and learnings from every single player has been fantastic and can only stand us in good stead for next season.”