Double award triumph for East Fife

Jonathan Page, left, and Barry Smith display their awards (picture by SNS Group Paul Devlin)
Jonathan Page, left, and Barry Smith display their awards (picture by SNS Group Paul Devlin)

Deepest, dark December has turned out to have been a bright, cheery month for East Fife manager Barry Smith and defender Jonathan Page – both of whom have scooped awards.

Smith was named Ladbrokes League One Manager of the Month, after guiding the Fifers to three of their four wins during the last month of 2016, while Page won the Ladbrokes League One Player of the Month accolade.

Smith carried off the prize despite only being appointed the Fifers’ manager on December 13, but the run of consecutive wins in Ladbrokes League One has set him apart from every other coach in the division, with the Fifes coneding just one goal in four matches during the month.

However, Smith told Ladbrokes News the plaudits belonged to the players rather than himself. He said: “It is nice to get a little bit of recognition but, having just come into the job, a lot of the credit has to go to the players.

“They’ve given me everything in their performances since I’ve come in, which has resulted in the run we’ve been on.”

Page, meanwhile, said he was enjoying his football at East Fife very much and would probably resist a return to full-time football if it was offered to him.

Playing more regularly as a part-timer definitely suited him better, he said, and it was more pleasurable than being full time.

Of his award, Page (26) said: “It’s always nice to get recognition. It’s not what we’re in it for but it’s an indicator of the team doing well, which is obviously the most important thing, and this has come on the back of a few good results, so it’s definitely a positive thing.

Praising his manager, Barry Smith, he added: “We’ve started to get a little bit of luck that we didn’t have earlier in the season, but he’s instilled a confidence and, obviously, we’ve conceded just one goal in five games, which shows the defensive improvement and how we’ve made ourselves harder to beat.”

The Fifers are hoping to extend their impressive winning sequence to seven from seven in all competitions tomorrow (Saturday), when they visit Airdrieonians.