Craig Tully is starting to make his mark less than two weeks after taking over as East Stirlingshire’s new head coach.
He has already pencilled in the club’s earliest ever start to pre-season training, scheduled three training sessions a week and warned that players will not be allowed to skip off to go to T In The Park in July.
There are physical changes too. Tully has taken a changing room at the club’s Little Kerse training base in Grangemouth and turned it into his own office, complete with desk, chairs and filing cabinets.
He may be a rookie football boss but it is clear he means business. The former Peterhead assistant has not left a job coaching last season’s League Two champions just to take on a bunch of also-rans.
“We need to move on to the next level,” he said. “I believe we can do that and I want to be pushing for the play-offs next season. There will be a bit of discipline about the place but it also should be enjoyable.
“The players should want to come to training and have a smile on their faces. We are serious about what we want to do but there should also be time for a laugh and a joke. There will be hard work but it should be enjoyable too.”
He has already got across the gist of that message to the seven players from last season he wants to keep, and it has clearly got through as four have already put pen to paper.
Jamie Glasgow, David Greenhill, Graeme MacGregor and Nathan Shepherd have this week agreed new one year contract extensions which will keep them at Shire until the end of the 2014/15 season.
Three players, Scott Maxwell, club captain Kevin Turner and striker Max Wright are still pondering their future but while Tully clearly wants all three to stay for another year, he is adamant he won’t wait forever.
“We haven’t set any deadlines for them to get back to us but there might reach a point where we have to move on. But I’m hopeful they will al come back,” he said.
Tully has other irons in the fire. Having been left without a signed goalkeeper, that becomes his top priority and he appears to have shaken hands on a deal with an experienced keeper with news of that expected to be made official within the next few days.
He is also looking at strikers. One area he knows where things must be strengthened is in the goal scoring department. Turner’s return in an injury-blighted season was meagre while the now departed Paul Quinn’s primary source of goals came from the penalty spot last season.