Neil McCabe picked up his Starshot trophy for season 2014-15 on the first day of pre-season training ahead of season 2015-16.
It was a nice way to start the summer sessions with the Shire at Little Kerse, and a lot better than how his last season began.
Still nursing an injury picked up at his previous club Forfar Athletic, McCabe began the summer slog with the injury in the back of his mind but with the all-clear, but it struck him down early on. However his start was very different from how he ended the season and once available for Craig Tully’s selection, McCabe became an integral part of the team’s midfield, and did enough to earn the coveted Starshot trophy.
“I was injured at the end of the last season at Forfar and came back for pre-season hoping things were all good and I’d got the all clear but on day two of pre-season it went again. It was unfortunate so I had to get back fit,” McCabe told The Falkirk Herald.
“I had to work hard away from the training ground and in the gym to get my leg strength back up and especially my quads back up so I could get my knee secure again and I got that not too far into the season.
“Hopefully we can get a better start to this season, because last time out we gave ourselves a lot to do. A good start and a similar run to what we had could hopefully take us a step on and we’ll see where that takes us.”
The Bainsford club won just three of their first 11 matches as McCabe returned to fitness and the first team, after a settling in period they went on a good run hoisting themselves to within touching distance of the play-offs before a late collapse towards the end of the season.
Co-incidence? That’s all it was, according to McCabe.
“I’d never put that down to myself, but for me it was just a case of getting back playing after the start to my Shire spell I’d had. It was good to get into the team and playing regularly, that was the main thing.
“It was just hard work to grind out results where other points of the season we didn’t quite do that.
“We went up to Elgin one Tuesday night and snatched a last minute winner, that sort of thing. That wouldn’t have happened at other points of the season and the boys took confidence from that and were working hard and things started to fall for us.
“It came at the right time too because we had a lot of midweek games and we had momentum to just keep going and it was an important point in our season.
““I think we’re disappointed with the way we ended the season, as a group we let ourselves down because though we were up in mid-table the ending wasn’t what we wanted after the great run we put together but it was a shame we didn’t take it over the line.”
That’s the ambition for this season and McCabe is seeking a better start to his, and shire’s season. But he does so defendign the Starshot trophy. Close runner-up David McKenna claimed he was ‘robbed’ of the title as McCabe was presented with the award, but the midfielder will have no complaints if his team-mate grabs it this season.
“It’s good to get an award like this because I think I had a good season last year and it’s good to get a personal reward at the end of it, but all the boys did well at the club last season.
“David McKenna was close to it himself, so it’s always good.
“He had a great season and got 15 goals which put him in the top four or five scorers in the league.
“That’s a great achievement for him and hopefully he has a good season again, not only for himself and the team, but he might be able to get this himself next term, because he was an important player for us.
“A lot of good things happenned last year and it’s a case of building on them.”