Glebe Rangers boss Peter Cairns is relishing the challenge to fire his relegated side back into the Championship One next season.
A defeat against Limavady last Tuesday night (10 April) meant second-bottom Glebe were unable to escape the drop.
Glebe have endured a disappointing campaign and have been straggling at the foot of the table for most of the season.
However, Cairns is optimistic he can transform the fortunes of the club in his first full campaign.
He took over from former boss Gary Scott midway through the season and although he couldn’t ensure survival, Cairns has certainly made a positive impact.
A tighter defence saw Glebe snatch a number of impressive results since the turn of the year.
Additions to the squad during the summer transfer window and the rise of promising youngsters to the first team gives Cairns hope that he can mastermind promotion from Championship Two.
While saddened by his side’s relegation, Cairns is upbeat about next season’s challenge which will include big derbies against Ballymoney United.
He said: “We will put on a good show, and we aim to get up into Championship One. It will be hard because of the competition, it will be difficult of course.
“We’re looking forward to next season, get a few more players in and get a squad that I’d like to have, and hopefully keep as many of the squad here as possible.
“We feel that if we keep the squad as strong as it is, we might challenge other teams.”
Reflecting on the Limavady defeat (1-4) and Saturday’s 0-3 loss at home to Larne, Cairns said: “We had a couple of poor results, to be honest with you, we were kind of poor.
“We had a few reserve players there. On Saturday I’m still kind of pleased with the performance even though the result wasn’t good, and a few of the other players put in good performances.
“On Saturday we had two players away, and only 11 available at one stage, so we just went with what we had and a few reserves.”
One shining light to emerge from the gloom of relegation has been teenage starlet Adam McVicker.
Club officials and management have been hugely impressed by the 16-year-old’s eye-catching performances as a substitute.
So much so that Cairns fears he may well have to deal with interest from bigger clubs.
He said: “I’d say he is one of the best young players about. He played centre midfield for 45 minutes on Saturday. He is only sixteen, there’s very little of him and he does not look out of place one bit.
“It may be hard to keep a hold of him but with any luck he’ll stay about. However, if someone better came in for him, I’d push him on to play at a higher standard.
“If I can keep a hold of him without twisting his arm, I will.”
On Saturday with depleted Rangers already relegated, Larne were in control from the off. The Inver men didn’t have to wait long to take the lead.
After a needless foul, Rangers couldn’t deal with the freekick and Maguire headed home from five yards, unmarked.
Larne doubled their lead when from a Glebe attack they broke and Elder was judged to have brought down the Larne attacker in the box by the linesman.
Niall McAllister made no mistake from the spot.
The visitors killed the game off a few minutes later when Adam Dick scored with a powerful header.
The host’s best effort was an Elder effort which came off the post.
The second half was very much a non-event, with Elder again striking the woodwork from an acute angel.
The game petered out, for a comfortable win to the visitors.
Glebe: Kane, McVicker, Forgrave, Dobbin, Rice, McCart, Kennoway, Parkhill, Elder, McAllister and Turner.
Subs: A McVicker, W Morrison, R. Gurney.
Meanwhile, Ballymoney United lost 2-0 away to Lurgan Celtic on Saturday.