Fife Lions 24

Strathmore Silverbacks 46

FIFE LIONS head coach Scott MacGillivray believes that they are progressing quicker than he’d expected despite losing their first home match on Saturday.

The rugby league club, reformed this year after withdrawing from the Scottish Rugby League (SRL) in 2013, took on the well-established Strathmore Silverbacks in their second match of the SRL’s National League.

After losing out by just 10 points to Glasgow – who they face at McKane Park on June 22 – they took what MacGillivary felt was a further stride forward in their development at the weekend.

Only five of their 16-man squad, supplemented by rugby union players from Dunfermline Rugby Club, had previously played the 13-man code and MacGillivray is pleased with how they are adjusting.

“It went really well and we are slowly improving together,” he said.

“We built on the lessons that we learned against Glasgow and moved forward against Strathmore, who are already a well-established team.

“It was very much a scratch side, with a core of five rugby league players who are ex-Scotland students and Scotland ‘A’ players, and we made a slow start.

“We tried to play rugby union in the first half, which we lost convincingly, but in the half-time team talk we asked them to work on our defence, get the communication up and win the second half, and they went and did it.

“46-24 is a fantastic result against a team who were well established and structured. We are a completely new development squad, so much so that I had to put the boots on, although I only lasted five minutes when I came on!

“We’re really looking forward to hosting Glasgow. Our knowledge and tactical awareness is increasing and I can’t ask any more from the players.”

MacGillivray continued: “It was fantastic to play our first home match, and in our new kit sponsored by Alpha Male Barbershop.

“It was a steep learning curve in the first half but the lads stepped up, fronted up and wore the shirt with pride. They really took it to Strathmore in the second half.

“They’re listening in training and on the park and are developing as rugby league players.

“We are moving better than what I would have anticipated at this stage and, as a head coach and a committee, I can’t ask any more of them.”

Established in 2002, Fife Lions were one of Scotland’s strongest clubs and were crowned national champions on two separate occasions in 2004 and 2006.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the club, and rugby league, should search for the club on Facebook.