GMA manager Mark Bain talks to the Camanachd Association about promotion to the Mowi Premiership

Q: First off, congratulations on guiding GMA to the Mowi Premiership, how would you describe this season?

A: Thanks, on the whole it's been a good season for us. At the start of the season our targets were to win a trophy and get promotion back to the premier. First off, we reached Celtic Cup semi where we narrowly lost out to Kyles, then we got to semi-final of Macaulay cup. That's the first Macaulay semi GMA have contested in around 20 years where we were beaten by a good Oban Camanachd team. Although we lost both semi-finals there was plenty of positives to be taken forward for the rest of the season. We made the Liberty British Aluminium Balliemore Final for a 2nd year in a row and in a very entertaining match lost 3-2 to Fort William in extra time. We accomplished one of our targets by gaining promotion to the premier after a 3-1 win away to Skye.

Q: Were you nervous when Skye opened the scoring on Saturday? What did you say to the guys at half-time?

Yeah, we were slightly concerned after Skye opened the scoring, they were in the ascendancy at that point in the game and were in control of the midfield, hitting long balls towards our goal, so the fear is they get another we could be in for a long day. After the goal our defence stood firm and gave Skye very few chances. Half time chat was all about being positive and continue what we were doing, having beaten Skye previously on 2 occasions this season we knew we had it in us to raise our game even higher.

Q: The Mowi Premiership is going to be a step up in quality, how are you and the club preparing for life in the top division?

We've played 3 teams from the premier this season and you can clearly see the difference in the speed of the game, the quality and touch that most teams possess. In terms of preparation, we’ll be starting pre-season early to keep the fitness levels high. Our fitness to be fair has been really good this season so a continuation of that will stand us in good stead.

Q: GMA conceded just 6 goals on the way to promotion, 11 less than next best Fort William, how do you maintain such defensive focus?

The defence has been outstanding this season, to only concede 6 goals in the league is some achievement. If you have that high calibre of defence not conceding goals it gives the whole team a massive confidence boost. The boys in defence all bring their own different skill set to the team, game awareness, hard tacking and good ball striking

Q: Who are you most looking forward to playing next season in the Mowi Premiership?

To be honest we’re not looking that far ahead at the moment. Whatever team we come up against will be a hard shift and we'll need to be well prepared. We certainly don't fear any team in the premier and on our day, we can definitely give anyone a hard game. The main focus for GMA is we are now back in the Mowi Premiership and preparations start now for next season.

Q: You weren’t only the manager but the second top goalscorer for GMA this season, how difficult is it to manage playing and coaching at the same time?

Yeah, playing this season wasn't part of the remit. We had a few injuries and suspensions mid-season and were struggling to get numbers for games, so as you do as an ex-player, I got back in and helped out. The plan was only to do it for a few games, but I scored a few goals and was enjoying it and kept going. In terms of managing and playing at the same time, it is quite difficult. If you’re playing, you’re not really focusing on the game in terms of tactics etc which can be difficult. Communication is a big issue as well, players can be looking for the manager on the side-lines for guidance and if he's not there, there can be a breakdown in communication. At GMA we have a selection of coaches that help out with training etc, so it's team effort with regard to achievements this season.

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