Forth Wanderers co-boss Graham Cairns will relish new league challenge

Forth Wanderers co bosses Graham Cairns (left) and Thomas Devine.Forth Wanderers co bosses Graham Cairns (left) and Thomas Devine.
Forth Wanderers co bosses Graham Cairns (left) and Thomas Devine.
Having been awarded a fifth place finish after the incomplete 2019-20 season in the old West League Two of the SJFA, everyone at Forth Wanderers has been hard at work preparing for the new West of Scotland Conference Leagues.

Although continued coronavirus restrictions mean that a definitive start date for these leagues remains unconfirmed, Forth and the other 66 clubs making up the new Premier Division and three conference set-up seem excited at the prospect of going senior.

The Carluke and Lanark Gazette spoke to Forth co-manager Graham Cairns, who was very positive despite the hell caused by Covid-19.

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“We’ve all been very busy despite these unusual times,” he said.

“Myself and my co-manager Thomas Devine (Div) have been non-stop in terms of speaking to our own squad and potential new signings over the last couple of months.

“To that end, we are absolutely delighted to have extended the contracts of 15 players from last season’s squad.”

With the current pandemic and restrictions making it difficult to meet and secure new signings Cairns also indicated that both he and Devine have become experts on Zoom meetings.

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He laughed: “Expert might be a bit strong, but yes it’s been very useful.

“We’ve managed to keep in touch and have a quiz night with our current squad and we’ve also managed to secure lots of interest from players who want to come in to pre-season with us and talk to us about their future.”

Next season will see Forth in Conference A with Shotts, Arthurlie, Whitletts, Craigmark, Irvine Victoria, Lesmahagow, Bellshill, Girvan, Maryhill, Johnstone, Muirkirk, Maybole, Saltcoats, Lugar and St Cadoc’s.

Cairns said: “We know that Conference A will be very tough, as the vast majority of the teams were in higher leagues than ourselves.

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“However, we believe in the squad and what we’re all building at Forth, so bring it on.”

Forth will also be entering a team into the WOSFL U20s Development League and Cairns praised his co-manager for his hard work in that area with Motherwell FC Trust.

He added: “We’re absolutely delighted to have pulled this together for the club and Div is due enormous credit for all the work he put in trying to make that happen.

“It’s a great step forward for Forth and the boys by giving them a pathway.

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“The Forth committee are also due tremendous credit for being open to this progression, bearing in mind the investment and work involved.

“The committee have also been hard at work off the field, working on the pitch, the dressing rooms and other areas.

“They’ve been very supportive to Div and myself and we are all looking forward to the new season whenever that may be.”