Scotstown boss aims to oversee repeat of tactical joy
When Scotstown stunned Clontibret in the Monaghan senior championship final last month, thus ending a 20-year title famine, manager Mattie McGleenan was hailed as a hero following what proved to be a master tactical stroke.
Former Tyrone player McGleenan – he became the first player from the Eglish club to play for the county in an All-Ireland final when he lined out in the 1995 defeat to Dublin – withdrew Kieran Hughes from his attack to curb what he felt would be the considerable influence of the free-scoring Conor McManus in the Clontibret attack.
The plan worked to such an extent that, although McManus pirated a ration of points from frees, his contribution from open play was largely nullified and Scotstown roared to an emphatic 2-16 to 0-7 victory.
But as he puts the final touches to his plans for tomorrow's important Ulster club championship quarter-final against Derry champions Ballinderry at Clones, McGleenan remains coy about possible tactical innovations.
"Let's just say that we will lay our plans accordingly," he said.
"Obviously this is a big step up for us but it has to be said that we have met and beaten some of the best sides in Monaghan on our way to the county title.
"Yet while these matches have sharpened us up considerably and given us confidence, Ballinderry will come to us reinforced by three Derry titles on the trot and a raging hunger to win the Ulster title."
McGleenan, in his first season in charge, has revitalised Scotstown by fuelling their ambition, honing an adventurous attacking policy and restoring pride.
He recognises that it will take even more if Ballinderry are to be tripped up, though.
"They have a huge wealth of experience in their side, an astute manager in Martin McKinless and strength on the bench," added McGleenan.
While Kieran Hughes will ostensibly be listed in attack, he could be handed another containing role but his brother Darren looks certain to orchestrate the team's attacking strategy from midfield.
In goalkeeper Rory Beggan, who was outstanding in Monaghan's colours this year, Scotstown have an invaluable player who can plunder points from long-range frees.