Queen of the South manager Allan Johnston reckons that hitting high standards day in and day out on the training pitch could be the key to his side winning the Ramsdens Cup today.
The Dumfries side, who have already run away with the Second Division title, face First Division leaders Partick Thistle in Livingston this afternoon and Johnston is hoping that a season’s worth of doing things right will pay off against the Firhill side.
Johnston, enjoying his first full campaign as a manager, explained: “I brought Sandy Clark in to work with me as my assistant as he was great when I was starting out my career at Hearts. He developed a lot of young players there – in fact he gave me my first-team debut – and one of the things that Sandy always talked about was standards. With the amount of young players we have here I thought it was important to have that same approach.”
The 39-year-old added: “When I was learning, everything had to be done to a high standard. There was no point in doing something if you did not do it properly. As a result of that grounding we try and do everything to a high standard every day. There has to be quality or it is not worth doing.”
The drive for high standards has been used by Johnston as opposed to more traditional methods. “You cannot shout at players any more,” he said. “I worked under Peter Reid at Sunderland and he was not slow in letting you know if things were not good enough. I am not sure if young players would get that now. I prefer showing them how to improve as opposed to shouting at them.”
The Palmerston club’s success this season has already brought admiring glances and Johnston knows that scouts will be out in force in West Lothian today. “It is frustrating, but I reckon we will lose a couple and that is the price of success,” he said.