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Muirkirk Juniors 4 - 0 Newmains United

Co-manager Craig Gupwell (Photo: Graham Robb)

CRAIG GUPWELL was delighted to see players turn up to this game – then left gutted when they failed to turn up IN the game.

After calling commitment into question in recent weeks the Newmains player co-boss had one of his best squads to pick from.

But he and they couldn’t help prevent United from falling 3-0 down by the break. They did tighten up at the back in the second half but it was too little too late.

Gupwell said: “After complaining about commitment levels recently we had a reaction at training and for games which has been really pleasing and encouraging.

“Turning up to the game I was full of confidence and for the first time in as long as I can remember I had what I believed to be my strongest squad available.

“That confidence was false hope though as too many boys were there in person but didn’t really turn up and show what they are capable of.

“We were soft all over the park and simply bullied by a stronger and more organised team.”

Gupwell reckons United’s players need to start speaking up in games – and should look at Muirkirk’s approach as an example.

He said: “Muirkirk were streetwise and claimed for everything collectively which ensured they got the majority of the decisions from the referee.

“It’s something we have been talking about every week. We know at this level, with no assistant referees, the referees can at times be easily swayed by whoever shouts the loudest.

“It’s an area we must improve along with communication amongst each other as we are one of the quietest teams on the park I have been a part of.

“I’m not for one minute blaming the referee for the result though as we simply weren’t good enough and got exactly what we deserved from the game.”

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