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Ring the Bell!

Annan no2 can't wait for season curtain raiser

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By Euan Maxwell
Annan and Eskdale
Ring the Bell!
RARING TO GO . . . Steven Bell

ANNAN Athletic assistant Steven Bell hopes to keep the feel-good feeling at Galabank up and admits he didn’t think twice before agreeing to become Wullie Gibson’s number two.

Bell spoke to the press following Annan’s 3-0 friendly victory over Gretna at Raydale Park on Tuesday night and admits he’s buzzing to be back in the game.

Goals from Tommy Muir and two trialists proved to be the difference between the League One and Lowland League sides. This comes after Annan’s 2-0 loss to Dundee United last Saturday.

Bell said: “It was a good game, Gretna did well. I had a wee look at the Lowland League table from last season and that’s not a team that finish second bottom this year, that’s for sure.

“Focusing on ourselves, we had a few trialists in who I felt did well.

“It takes time to gel and time to get to get to know each other and the boys are still doing that at the moment.

“It was a good result, it’s pre-season and minutes in the legs.

“Shout out to young Archie Aitchison as well. He’s 15-years-old and came on as sub goalkeeper.”

Bell also praised some of the newbies in the Annan squad including veteran midfielder Paul McGowan.

COUP . . . the experienced Paul McGowan signed for Annan last week

He added: “Paul’s qualities are there for everybody to see and he’ll be a fantastic signing for this club. It’s a real coup for the club to get somebody like Paul in.

“Only two years ago he was playing with Dundee in the Premier League and captaining them to winning the Championship. He won the league with Dunfermline as well.

“Every dressing room I’ve been in that’s been successful has five or six Paul McGowans.

“Paul Smith’s a good signing for us as well from Ayr United. He’s a good technical football player who’s brave on the ball and I’m really excited to see him play this year.

“We’re still looking to add as you can see we had a few trialists. But naturally it’s difficult at this time of the season because of numerous circumstances.”

Bell has had a long-lasting relationship with gaffer Gibson during their playing careers and now he hopes for a successful one in coaching.

He said: “The manager’s somebody I’ve kept in touch with throughout my time in football.

“I had a good rapport with him when I played at Dunfermline and 20 years ago, I had a wee spell at Queen of the South with him.

“He phoned me the day after he got the job and we just kind of sounded it out.

“It’s something I’ve always been interested in. I felt it was a good fit and I didn’t have to think twice about it.

“He’s showing me up because he’s a year older than me! But he’s kept himself in fantastic shape and is still a wonderful player.

“If he’s playing on Saturday it’s important that I mirror his views and values.”

Bell also praised the close knit community at Galabank and hopes the fans can continue their support going into the season.

He said: “I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve played at clubs like this before. Stranraer was a club like that and one which is still very close to my heart.

“That’s one of the things Wullie said when he phoned me. He said this is a really tight knit community club, very much like Stranraer.

“He knew how much I loved it there. And it is, I can certainly feel it already.

“To be around a first team environment again is good. I’ve had opportunities to get back into it but nothing has really kind of jumped out at me.

“Annan have been on the up for the last six or seven years, and the first thing the gaffer said to me was that we really want to keep this on the right trajectory and go up the way. That’s something that really excited me.
“We would love nothing better than for the club to do really well and players to come in, find a foot playing with us and potentially go full time. That’s success for us, and if you get that year-in-year-out the club will do really well.”

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