Winger Neale Davidson gave praise to player-coach Mark Gray for the work he put in to get the squad prepared for the game with Deveronvale on Saturday.


The 22 year old teacher was Dave McGinlay’s first signing for the club when McGinlay took charge for a second spell and he admitted it was a shock when the squad got the news on the management teams departure.


“It was a surprise when we got the news just days before a game, I don’t think anyone seen it coming. Mark Gray took training on Thursday night and got a good session with us and we were able to bring that into Saturday’s game as he kept us focused and told us what to do. He tried to keep training to the similar sessions we’ve been having recently and his team talk was the usual encouragement he gives us.”


Neale highlighted Gray’s contribution on the pitch which give the younger players in the side a lift after their last fixture saw the black and gold’s on a heavy 5-1 defeat to Inverurie Loco Works .


“It was good to have Mark on the pitch with us, we’ve a number of players including myself who like to get forward and you need someone with good discipline who can sit in the midfield and we had a good shape about us. Having someone with his experience was helping Russell Guild and latterly David Booth in going forward helping to create chances. On the other side of the pitch Grant Campbell was a threat.”


With the caretaker manager Gray doing the talking on the pitch, Davidson was pleased with the backing the squad got from two other title winning players in the dugout as former player and coach Martin Stewart lined up in the technical area with goalkeeping coach Richard Bowman.


“Bowman has worked with us for a few seasons now and I thought Martin Stewart coming in was a big help to us. He’s got a lot of enthusiasm and vast knowledge of the game and we took on board what he had to say and I thought it was a good move to get him in helping. I’d met Martin a few times before but hadn’t worked with him and I thought it was really beneficial for us.”


Huntly were minutes away from claiming all three points against Deveronvale after the Banff side levelled late on through a controversial Graeme Rodger penalty. Davidson admitted the decision to award a foul on Craig Simpson inside the penalty area had angered some of his team mates.


“A number of players were annoyed in the dressing room and Grant Campbell wasn’t happy with the decision himself. It’s just one of those things, we played really well and going into the game we would’ve settled for a point. We had a good goal threat and saw a number of chances cleared off the line and we were able to keep it tight at the back.”


After losing playmaker Russell Guild minutes before the interval, the former Lewis United player stated it was an inspired substitution after Czech forward netted within minutes of coming off the bench.


“He looked sharp when he came on and it gave him a big confidence boost when he scored the header as he’s now scored in the last three games he’s played in. we put a lot of balls into the box and myself, Marek and Andrzej (Kleczkowski) all had changes cleared off the line in quick succession and if it wasn’t for some last ditch defending from Deveronvale we could’ve went on to win the game.”


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