A new feature that we are be bringing to the BAJFC website is ‘An Interview With…’, a light hearted small insight to who the BAJFC players, management and committee are. Our second interview is with BAJFC goalkeeper Iain Ross. Read below what Iain had to say when he sat down with our website admin over a coffee or two…
It’s been about 14 years since you made your debut for Blairgowrie Juniors back in the day, so what’s been you most memorable happy moment that sticks out in your career so far?…
I made my Blairgowrie debut back in November 2001 as a trialist in a one-off match at Forfar Albion (which we won 2-0) and eventually signed a one-year deal with Blairgowrie in August 2002 once I had left school. There have been a number of memorable moments throughout my career, namely winning the Super League twice (2005 & 2008) with Lochee United and winning all of the inter-regional trophies, the one exception being the Scottish Cup.
Two games stick out in that time though. The recent playoff match with Broughty at Armadale was a real roller-coaster affair with us eventually winning the penalty shoot-out, but the match that would top it all off was the Arthurlie v Lochee, Scottish Cup Quarter Final Replay in 2005. We had drawn the initial tie 1-1 at Thomson Park and an hour into the replay, found ourselves 4-1 down, Ray McKinnon had scuffed a penalty wide and Ross Kiddie had been sent off. Somehow, we managed to scrape a 4-4 draw and won the tie 4-3 on penalties. I saved two in the shoot-out including the decisive penalty. I bet some of the Arthurlie players who played that day & their supporters will still not believe they lost that match. We then went on to win the semi-final 4-0 v Maryhill at McDiarmid Park before losing the final 2-0 to Tayport at Tannadice.
Do you have game day rituals or superstitions before a match?
Wouldn’t say I have a superstition but I always pick the right shin guard up first, then put down and put my left one on first. Don’t ask me why but something that has just happened over the years!!
I hear you’ve scored a goal or two in the Junior game, care to share that with us?
Yes, I have scored twice in my Junior career, both for Lochee United. The first one was against Kelty through there, I think it was 1-1 at the time, I rolled the ball out of my area and launched it up the park, Lochee striker Paul Blackwood challenged their keeper on the edge of their box and they both missed the ball and in it went. Think we won that match 4-3 from memory. My second goal was against Hill of Beath at Thomson Park only three months later. It was 1-1 going into injury time and I popped the ball into the HOB box, it missed everyone, took one bounce and landed in the back of the net! We scored another and won 3-1.
What are your plans after you finish playing football, as in would you take up coaching or management or even leave football altogether?
This may surprise a few people, but I would be keen to go into Management/Coaching when I eventually hang up the gloves. I would like to think in the 13/14 years I have played Junior Football and having a fair amount of success, I know what works and what doesn’t. That doesn’t necessarily give you the divine right to be successful, but I think it gives you an excellent starting point.
I have been fortunate enough to work with a number of managers who in their own way have educated me about the game. I look back to Eddie Wolecki when I first signed for Lochee United. It took me 6 months to adjust to the demands and expectations he initially placed on you. Just when you thought you were there, his expectations and demands grew and this was constant over the near three years I worked with him. He had a support network around him that would put an army to shame and as your career develops and the more experienced you become, you see how all the pieces of the jigsaw come together and why throughout that time at Lochee we were so successful.
However, I look around a number of local junior clubs and without being disrespectful, they don’t have the structure in place to allow you to develop a team and ultimately grow the club both on and off the park whilst developing you as a manager/ coach. It’s not just junior clubs though; you just have to look at the recent “Pro Youth” uproar Jim McInally caused, but he does have a point. I think Jamie McCunnie touched on the lack of a proper structure in his interview too.
What team do you support and any player that you have admired since you first knew about football as a youngster?
Dare I say this, but, Rangers are the team I support. The player I have always admired, from a goalkeeper’s perspective, was Dutch keeper Edwin Van Der Sar.
How did it feel representing your country, Scotland, at Junior level?
It was obviously a great honour to be selected. I have been fortunate enough to pick up four caps and win the Quadrangular Tournament three times, in Scotland 2005, Isle of Man 2008 and in Northern Ireland in 2010.
Whilst it’s a great individual honour, it was also great recognition for the managers/ coaches at Lochee for putting their time in to develop me as a goalkeeper.
What are some of the lessons you have learnt on your footballing journey?
I think one lesson would be not to rest on your laurels. I finished the previous season as the club’s number one and coasted pre-season. I was subsequently dropped for the first half dozen games of the next season but ended the season with a Super League Winners Medal and a Scotland Juniors Cap.
This may sound a bit cliché, but hard work is the basis to being successful. I am definitely not the most naturally talented goalkeeper out there, but I have worked hard over the years to make the best of the ability I had, all be it probably peaked at 21.
What do you think you would have done if you had not played football?
I have only ever played football part time combining it with the Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm so I would have been involved in sport in some context, just not sure which one.
Broughty Athletic are your fourth Junior team in your career, how has it been the past couple of seasons?
I am enjoying my time at Broughty and it has been great to see the natural progression of the club both on and off the park. Having played for Lochee & Tayport, they are more developed as a club off the park than Broughty currently are. We are continuing to grow and with plans to construct to the new pitch at Whitton Park as well as a pavilion with hospitality facilities hopefully in time for the start of next season, I am sure this will attract new sponsors & volunteers and help with this growth.
Broughty training sessions or Broughty losing a game, what is the worst?
Losing without a doubt. A defeat on a Saturday can to an extent, make or break your weekend. My fiancé, Laurie, gives me 10 minutes to vent when I get home after a defeat, after that all football talk is banned until training on Tuesday night.
Finally, tell us a bit more about Iain Ross, outside of football?
I’m engaged to my fiancé Laurie and have a daughter, Harlow, who is three on Christmas Eve. They are my escape away from football, not that Harlow gives you any relaxing time. She is full of beans and infamously made an appearance on the Whitton Park pitch against Bo’ness earlier in the season.
Outside of football & family, I work in Aberdeen for SKN Electrical who specialise in providing competent electrical rope access trained technical personnel to carry out engineering solutions both on and offshore. Additionally, I am also completing an Electrical Engineering Degree at Napier University on a part-time basis.
Getting the work/life balance isn’t always easy but I am lucky that I have a supportive family around me to allow me to continue to play football…