COACH PROUD OF “COURAGEOUS PERFORMANCE”
Paisley Pirates coach Ian Turley was a happy man after his depleted side rose to the challenge and beat the reigning SNL champions, Kirkcaldy Kestrels 8-5 in a pulsating match at Braehead Arena on Sunday night.
He explained, “On the day of the game I had very real concerns that we wouldn’t have enough players to meet the minimum requirement of 12 skaters, such was the length of our injury list, with players phoning me to say that they wouldn’t make it for various reasons. At that time, I was less worried about the ultimate result of the game, more about actually being able to play it at all, as some guys had conditions which meant they just shouldn’t be going out to play, not the best preparation for a match up against the Kestrels, always a difficult fixture at the best of times, but looking damn near impossible at one stage on Sunday.”
He went on, “Some players, when they realised the extent of the injury list, said they’d turn up anyway and see how it went, and those at the game witnessed one of the most courageous performances it’s been my privilege to participate in as the coach of the Pirates. Stuart Miller had an upper body injury and said he’d try the warm up to see how it was, he finished up scoring two goals and got two assists while in considerable pain, aggravating his condition to the point where he’ll now need to listen to medical advice and is out indefinitely. Chris Turley also pulled a shirt on against medical advice not to play before the New Year at the earliest, following an injury which required surgery some weeks ago. About 80% of the team had been struck down with a virus but the guys turned out when they were not fit and while it showed at times, I have nothing but the highest possible regard for every single one of them who, to use the old adage, “stepped up to the plate” when the circumstances required it. The players deemed fit not carrying injuries or the virus, and there weren’t many of them, dug deep for the cause and were absolutely exhausted at the end of what was a very tough game against very good opponents.”
“They say that sometimes you find out more about yourself and others in times of adversity and I certainly found out a lot about my players that night. The team’s character was tested! I think for some of the new players it really hit home exactly what the expectations are when playing for the Pirates and what being part of this club means to everyone. Particularly in the latter stages of the match, when the boys were getting tired, the noise and the support coming from the stands helped lift the players, while the guys can and should take a huge amount of confidence from their performance knowing that they can reach the levels they achieved on Sunday under the most trying of circumstances.”
“We’re not back in action now until Saturday, 7 January when we have a top of the table clash against Aberdeen Lynx, at Braehead (face off 5.00pm), so the players will get a little bit of a breather before preparing for what will be another very difficult match, but they’ll go into it now with the confidence they’ve gained from defeating the Kestrels when, in all honesty, we shouldn’t have had an earthly.”