Mark Surgenor’s praise for Carrick ‘yin and yang’ team behind early rise
Long-serving defender Mark Surgenor is celebrating the ‘infectious’ air of enthusiasm around Carrick Rangers since Stuart King’s summer arrival.
King has grabbed a chance at top-flight management by guiding Rangers to three wins from five Premiership fixtures following his move out of the Irish League’s third tier.
And the former Banbridge Town boss takes his Rangers squad to Larne this evening sitting level on nine points apiece with the full-time hosts.
Surgenor was full of smiles following last weekend’s win over Portadown secured off the Carrick captain’s successful penalty kick and a determined defensive display he helped to marshall alongside another experienced player in Jim Ervin.
Although Surgenor and Ervin hit a combined age of 71 in the Carrick backline, the skipper feels full of energy under the King regime.
“Stuart has come in and given us all a massive lift, he kicks every ball and it’s infectious,” said Surgenor. “You see it out on the pitch but it’s on the training ground for us also.
“Plus he has brought in good people around him - Scott Irvine’s work cannot be under-valued (as assistant manager) and the coaching sessions they put on are first-class.
“It’s the yin and yang, with Stuart so up and Scott the calming influence.
“There’s energy and super training sessions, with instructions good and everything really well organised.
“That’s over training, to time-keeping and everything...right through from Tuesday night to Saturday afternoon and it’s really bringing us on.
“He’s putting the trust in the right boys.
“We’ve the right mix of experience and young boys coming through so it’s exciting times to be at the club.
“Jim has come in from Ballymena and is just a professional through and through.
“It’s infectious, even to me as someone not that much younger than him.
“And if I follow suit and other boys follow suit then it’s the domino effect.
“It’s just professionalism and discipline...being here and every time you train you’ve got to lay it on the line if you want to win the shirt.
“It’s upped it a level, Stuart is so passionate with his team talks and everything he does.
“Stuart’s a winner and he has made no bones about it how he wants to go higher and higher and higher.
“He’ll do whatever he can to get there and if this is a stepping stone then be it...but it’s not a stepping stone if we’re not successful for him.
“He’s putting everything he has into it - he’s first one here and last one away and that can only rub off on everyone else.
“If you see the boss putting in double the effort you have to follow suit or clear off.
“We’re here Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and his example is that if you want to win then you have to do this stuff.
“He’s brought a lot of spirit and togetherness.”
Larne boss Tiernan Lynch will attempt to get the league campaign back on track following a first defeat of the Premiership season in the loss to Crusaders.
“You just have to look around at the teams that are involved in this league,” said Lynch. “You could literally pick any one of six or seven teams that could go and put a run of games together.
“When we get to do what we do there’s very few who will stop us in my opinion and that’s not being arrogant in any way.
“But we’re a work in progress...we’ve made a lot of changes and been very good up until now.
“But it’s a 38-game season - we’ve been here before, we just have to get back to what we do.”