Month: February 2017

McBride is looking to the future after American adventure

Craig McBride loved every minute of his American adventure but he is equally happy to be back playing on Scottish soil.

The 22-year-old is just back from a stint at Davenport University in Michigan where he combined his studies with playing for the University’s soccer team.

Upon his return, he signed on with Chris Anderson’s Vale in January and played in the matches against Selkirk and Gala Fairydean Rovers before the team’s enforced lay off. He is now raring to go for the remainder of the season and is looking to help the club climb the league table.

McBride said: “I loved the experience and wouldn’t change it for anything. I worked in a call centre before I left for America and I just wanted a change. So when the opportunity came about to move country and also continue playing football I couldn’t say no.

“We won the league and also came close to winning the national tournament twice, which the best schools in the US compete in. I really enjoyed my time there and made a lot of good friends from all over the world that I still speak to on a regular basis.

“It was a really fun lifestyle, we would have a couple of classes in the morning, and then train in the afternoon. And we trained every day, so the team became very close.”

After a baptism of fire in two tough Border derbies, including one against his hometown and ex-team Gala, the centre half has not been able to make any more competitive appearances for his new team as they have not played since January 7. He revealed that a lack of action has not hindered his integration into the squad.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at the Vale so far. Everyone – including players, staff and people behind the scenes, have been really welcoming and it’s easy to fit in.

“Obviously the couple of games I’ve played in, the results haven’t gone our way but I’m sure that the results will come.

“Ando has made a few signings and there’s a few players coming back from injury that will boost the squad. So I’m very positive going into the second half of the season.

“Although we haven’t had a lot of competitive game time lately, we have been training really well and we’ve had a few friendlies to keep us ticking over.

“I already feel quite settled. I also knew a few of the boys previously which helped of course. Our training sessions are naturally competitive and that’s really important. When we play a game in training nobody wants to lose.

“I think this will have a positive effect when we do play competitively and everyone will be ready to go despite the lack of games. I think with the type of squad we have the league isn’t really a fair reflection”, said McBride.

Match Preview: Civil Service Strollers

There will be few fingers belonging to those of a Vale of Leithen persuasion left uncrossed this evening, as we hope that the weather does not take too much of a turn for the worse.

If tomorrow’s match against Civil Service Strollers does go ahead it will be the first time the Innerleithen men have played in a competitive fixture since January 7.

Manager Chris Anderson said: “Firstly I would like to take the time to wish Civil Service player Chris Milligan a speedy recovery from his double leg break last week from all at Vale of Leithen FC.

“The squad has trained exceptionally hard over the last month and we are determined to put that into practice this Saturday.

“James Elliot, Brad Raiker who are injured and Keith McLeod who is yet to serve his suspension will form our usual list of absentees however having added to the squad since our last competitive game we are have more than enough competition for places.

“Shaun Stevens put pen to paper last night and I’m delighted he has decided to rejoin us and give us more options upfront . It’s also been refreshing to see Ali Smith return to training and he will make his long awaited debut.”

Defender Craig McBride joined the club in January after returning from a spell in America, and played in the matches against Selkirk and Gala Fairydean Rovers before the team’s enforced lay-off. He wants the club to start fulfilling it’s potential.

He said: “I think with the type of squad we have the league position isn’t really a fair reflection. We have a very strong team and so should be sitting higher up the table.

“We go into every game looking for three points and so I don’t think this Saturday will be any different. I don’t know too much about Civil but I’ve heard they’re a physical team and so we just need to match that.

“The training over the last few weeks has been hard, we’ve been working a lot on staying fit so everyone should be feeling sharp and ready to go come game time.”

Match Preview: Sitrling Uni – Gaffer raring to go after recharging the batteries


A four week break from football for Vale comes to an end tomorrow when the University of Stirling visit, and the time out has given the team an opportunity to recharge the batteries and work on the training pitch.

The last match for the Innerleithen side was the January 7 defeat to Gala Fairydean Rovers. The postponement of an away fixture with Hawick Royal Albert along with a match with East Kilbride being moved forward to earlier in the season, and a scheduled free week, has given the players four weeks off from competitive football.

Manager Chris Anderson said: “It (the break) has come at a very good time.

“We obviously were on a bad run of results so I think it’s given us a chance to refresh things a little bit, add to the squad and the boys have worked really hard over the last couple of weeks..

“It has given us vital time on the training pitch to work on a couple of things.”

In the intervening period since the Gala match, three friendlies have been arranged to give some players much needed game time.

A 6-2 win over Edinburgh Amateur side St.Bernards was followed up by a 4-3 defeat to Edinburgh South Vics and a 3-3 draw with East of Scotland side Leith Athletic.

Anderson was pleased with the chance to play these matches and believes it has been profitable for his men.

He said: “The friendlies have been good. It’s been a good exercise – it’s always good to get a feel for playing again.

“A lot of players haven’t played many minutes so it was good to just get them on the pitch and get a feel for it again. So it was a worthwhile few games.”

Things are markedly different for both Vale and Stirling from when the two sides last met in the league. Vale had enjoyed a steady start to the season, while the students had been indifferent by their standards, and Ando’s men recorded a wonderful 4-0 away win.

Now though, as a result of a slump in form, Vale are only four places from the bottom of the table while Stirling sit fifth top having been galvanised.

The manager remains undaunted and he added: “We’ll approach the game like we do all the time. We’ll try and be as positive as we possibly can.

“We”ll have a few more players available and have almost a full strength team to choose from so I think we’ll look forward to the game.

“It’s a very tight, competitive league. There’s not much difference between the teams with the exception of perhaps the top two so there’s no reason with a few wins and a bit more confidence that we can’t climb the league and that’s what we”ll be aiming to do.”