Stuart King on value of key addition who will never see a minute of playing time
Stuart King celebrated a third win from his first five fixtures in senior management on Saturday by putting praise on one of the club’s more familiar faces.
The summer appointment from third-tier Banbridge Town has enjoyed a superb start to life in the Premiership dugout and saw his Rangers side move up to fourth in the early-season standings thanks to a weekend 1-0 win over Portadown.
King’s post-match reaction highlighted a long list of players ruled out before the home success - but also how his faith in the man he promoted to his number two played a key role in Saturday’s selection calls.
“I’m absolutely delighted - we had 10 senior players today and a bench full of kids, plus forced into a late change due to a warm-up injury,” said King. “It was a massive, massive game for us.
“A big thing at this club has been the fact my assistant, Scott Irvine (now at the club since 2017), has worked with the reserves and we’ve had conversations about the squad.
“Those young guys involved in the senior squad today have been training with us constantly so know what I’m about.
“Even to get them on the pitch today was fantastic for the football club and that’s all down to Scott.
“And they’re needed as we’re not the biggest club in the world.
“I’ve senior lads sitting in there injured who would start every week as high-quality Irish League players who have been there and done it.”
Mark Surgenor’s penalty kick proved decisive in the single-goal success - with King delighted at his captain’s defensive contribution alongside Jim Ervin towards the welcome clean sheet.
It secured back-to-back league wins for Carrick following a 4-0 defeat of Glenavon confirmed off the field by NIFL officials following an in-play postponement due to Lee McNulty’s injury.
“After last week I told the players to do it for Lee and the chips were down with so many senior players out but they went out and performed,” said King. “I’m here to win football matches and I know it’s not going to be easy but what I’ve been getting from my boys from the day I came in has been phenomenal.
“Today is what every manager in the country would want...Portadown threw the kitchen sink at us and were very good but my boys stood up and dealt with it.
“That’s what you want as a manager - commitment, desire and a will to win.
“The players are starting now to believe it a wee bit I think and I’m here to drive this club as best I can.
“If we play like that but be a wee bit better on the ball, we’ll be okay.
“I’ve been a player where I’ve won the league and know what it’s about and how important momentum can be.
“What more can I say about Mark and Jim...both have been immense and I know I can rely on them and trust them.
“I wish I had 20 of them!”