Home   Sport   Article

New boss McKenna aims to get Thurso ‘moving in right direction’


By Alan Hendry

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.



Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Tom McKenna has promised to do whatever he can to 'get things right' for Thurso. Picture: Alan Hendry
Tom McKenna has promised to do whatever he can to 'get things right' for Thurso. Picture: Alan Hendry

New manager Tom McKenna says he wants to see Thurso becoming a competitive force again within the North Caledonian League “rather than just making up the numbers”.

The 54-year-old was appointed to the role this week and immediately began looking at how he can strengthen the squad ahead of the 2024/25 campaign starting next month.

McKenna will be assisted by Nigel Mackenzie, Asa Sinclair and Graeme Sutherland as he seeks to revive the fortunes of the Vikings, who have ended up second bottom in each of the past two seasons.

The former Wick Academy boss was part of the Thurso coaching team during Stevie Reid’s time as manager. McKenna will remain committed to his existing coaching roles with Castletown and Caithness Ladies.

The North Caledonian League kicks off on Saturday, August 17, with Thurso away to Clachnacuddin “A”.

“First and foremost I’ve got a squad of players that are already there, so I’m going to inherit that,” McKenna said. “I’ll go through the list and try to speak to as many boys as I can.

“I’m looking to get other personnel in. I’ve spoken to a few lads already who are quite happy to come along to training and have a look and have a chat.

“I’ll be looking to get a lot of players in that I think will enhance the squad and take the club forward.

“I’m a big believer in you only get what you deserve out of football. If you don’t outscore the opposition then you get what you deserve.

“Whether you play well week in, week out, the league table never lies. You’re in that position for a reason and we’ve got to try to change that.

“If I can bring in the right personnel to enhance the squad, hopefully we can do that.

“The club just want to see a gradual improvement – there’s nothing unrealistic, nothing that will put me under a lot of pressure, or the players, as long as there is an improvement.

Thurso players celebrate during a 1-0 win against Inverness Athletic at the Dammies last season, but good results were few and far between over the campaign as a whole. Picture: James Gunn
Thurso players celebrate during a 1-0 win against Inverness Athletic at the Dammies last season, but good results were few and far between over the campaign as a whole. Picture: James Gunn

“I’ve got players I’ve been speaking to, and players I will be trying to speak to, and try to get them in. It’s looking good for now, but you’re competing against Halkirk United, you’re competing against Golspie, and you’ve got Wick Academy as well.

“I’ll just go in and do what I’ve got to do. I’ll try and be as professional as I can be within an amateur environment.

“I’ll go over and above what’s really required of me to try and get things right. It won’t be for the want of trying.

“Obviously I need to get the right personnel that are going to give us the quality to take us up the table, and move in the right direction, and try to be competitive within the league again rather than just making up the numbers.

“The club and I are going to need players that are going to be committed and want to do well for Thurso Football Club. We need players with that mentality and that desire to do well.”

McKenna is manager of Castletown in summer amateur football as well as being head coach of Caithness Ladies in the SWF Highlands and Islands League.

“I think I will manage all three,” he said. “I spoke to the chairman at Castletown about it and gave him my thoughts.

“If it gets too much I’ll make a decision. I don’t want other people to try and make that decision for me.

“Castletown have got their last game on August 13. Looking at the summer league schedule, trying to find a window to train is going to be really difficult with all the boys involved in summer football.

“We’ll try to get together in some way to try and move forward. It’s going to be really difficult until the summer league finishes.”

Caithness Ladies are on a summer break until they resume their SWF Highlands and Islands Cup campaign with a semi-final against Sutherland on Sunday, August 18.

“The girls have stopped for six weeks now, so I’ve got a couple of weeks off from them,” McKenna said.

“It’s just the overlap from the back end of the summer season. Outwith that, I’m sure we’ll manage.

“I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it, but I think I’ll be okay with all three.”

Tom McKenna in his role as head coach with Caithness Ladies. Picture: James Gunn
Tom McKenna in his role as head coach with Caithness Ladies. Picture: James Gunn

For good measure, McKenna will again be in charge of the Caithness AFA select for the inter-county Archer Shield match against Orkney. It takes place in Castletown on Saturday, July 20.

Previous manager Scott Davidson announced at the start of July that he was standing down, as a change of career would make it impossible for him to remain fully committed to the Vikings.

McKenna turned out for clubs such as Rochdale, Airdrie and Stenhousemuir during his playing career as well as having a spell in South Africa’s premier league with AmaZulu. He was head of youth at Clyde before moving to Caithness.

He parted company with Wick Academy in February 2020 after almost two-and-a-half years at the Highland League club.


Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More