Falkirk's Ian Fergus looking for 'next Craig Sibbald'

Falkirk’s head of youth development, Ian Fergus, outlined his ambition to create a conveyor belt of local talent able to serve the Bairns’ first team for years to come at the club’s AGM on Monday night.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 4:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th December 2021, 4:04 pm
Ian Fergus speaking at the event (Pic Michael Gillen)
Ian Fergus speaking at the event (Pic Michael Gillen)

Speaking in front of shareholders, the double UEFA A-licensed coach vowed to find the club’s next “Craig Sibbald-type superkid” capable of sparkling in the first team from an early age.

Local lad and club icon Sibbald was given his debut, aged 16, in July 2011 and went on to make more than 200 appearances for Falkirk.

Fergus said: “We want to find the next Sibbald-type player who will grasp a chance in the first team and rise to the challenge and claim a starting spot. That has to be the goal for us as club, to bring in the best local talent and give them the chance to excel at this great football club.

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"Before I was part of this football club, from afar it was a team known for the talent it produced who went on to play at a higher level. Even more importantly, it was a place young players believed that would happen at too.”

Giving an update on his remit, the part-time coach waxed lyrical about Falkirk’s under-16s squad, as well as praising their under-18s’ progression to playing elite opponents.

The under-18s aren’t in an elite league but have played numerous friendly matches against elite-level sides from both sides of the border.

“They have had a steep learning curve, but it is what will make or break them as footballers,” he said. “The plan we have is for them to be challenged, and to get better, sometimes you need to lose and aspire to reach the level of the opponent.”

The youth coach also confirmed that from the newly created set-up, four players have already trained with the first-team squad on a regular basis.

He said: “We’ve already had a goalkeeper train with the first-team guys for most of the season so far.

“Three outfield lads have also trained with the squad and impressed.

“The next step is to mentor them and keep coaching them to be in a position to claim a spot in the starting 11 or to come off the bench and play a role. Once we do that, we are heading in the right direction.”

Fergus admitted his aspirations are bold but insisted he wouldn’t talk the talk if he couldn’t see it through.