Morton calls for improvement
Scott Morton, the PHC Zebras coach, is not as concerned about drawing Robin Hood in the FA Cup quarter-finals as he is about making sure his team improves in time for the tie at Goose Gosling Field on Saturday.
Morton was a quiet observer on the PHC bench during their 3-0 win over BAA in the league last weekend, leaving the team in the hands of assistant coaches Robert Bean and Winston Trott Jr after only just returning from vacation.
He assures he will be more hands on against Hood, the defending champions, as the two teams meet in the FA Cup for the third straight occasion.
“I had been off on vacation the last 3˝ weeks and missed the past three matches,” Morton said. “In the build-up to the last match [against BAA] I only arrived back on Friday and so wasn’t at any of the training sessions.
“For me, it was about the coaching staff continuing with what they were doing successfully and for me to observe where the team is at. I didn’t have any input in anything, I just sat back and observed.
“I agree with “Coe” Trott’s assessment of the team; the only thing we should be happy about is the three points.
“The play was definitely not up to par; individual players have to improve more. We have a lot of youngsters coming through and I’m looking to give them the opportunity, but they have to earn it.
“For four or five of them this is their first year being involved with the senior team, so you’re going to get your peaks and valleys with them. I took mental notes during the match and now I need to put those notes into action for improvement for the game on Saturday.”
PHC and Hood were the first names out in the quarter-final draw on Monday, some fans taking to social media to say “not again” as the top two teams prepare for another intriguing tie.
“It definitely doesn’t faze me,” Morton added. “What’s most important to me is the performance. Some of them have dropped off this year as far as consistency and taking it to another level. My task is to help them improve by putting more demands on them.
“Hopefully, they can be self-motivated enough to want to improve, especially as we have a few Bermuda players. The national coach [Kyle Lightbourne] is at a lot of our matches and hopefully they have it in their minds to want to keep their places in the national programme.”
Just four teams have won the FA Cup in the past nine years, Devonshire Cougars claiming three titles between 2010 and 2013, and Dandy Town doing the same between 2012 and 2015. Hood won the cup in 2016 and 2018 and PHC in 2017.
“Some players and fans would like us and Hood be in the final, but each team has to earn their way,” Morton said “Nothing is guaranteed and if another team deserves to be there, then that’s what it is. You have to be careful what you wish for. You might get somebody else and not make it past that round. Then what? Also, it’s good for football not to have the same two teams always winning trophies.
“This is just another match for me; we could be playing Real Madrid or Paget Lions or Dandy Town.
“Where I get my satisfaction is seeing players improve. In the end, it is about Bermuda football, not about PHC or any other club.
“I take to heart that, as a coach, I want to improve my players so that when the national team coach gets PHC players, there are a lot of things that he doesn’t have to work on.”
Southampton Rangers, last season’s beaten finalists, meet St David’s in a first-round replay tonight at North field, National Sports Centre, at 7pm. The winners will play BAA at Goose Gosling Field at 8pm Monday.
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