Tayport move quickly to appoint new boss

FORMER Dundee United player Iain Jenkins is the new manager of Tayport.

Canniepart officials acted quickly this week to replace management duo Frank Conway and Ian Gilzean, who parted company with the club late last week.

Jenkins, who won a handful of full international caps for Northern Ireland and turned out for Everton, has most recently been boss of Dundee North End, and left that post just a few weeks a ago.

His assistant will be Sean Wilkie, a figure who needs no introduction to the Tayport support.

Wilkie had been number two at North End, where he finished his playing career.

It was, however, at the Canniepairt where Wilkie made his name, captaining the club for much of his 10-year stay and entering local folklore as the first player to skipper 'Port to Scottish Junior Cup glory, in 1996.

It is envisaged that two other greats, Grant Paterson and Fraser Mann, will both remain involved in the coaching set-up, as Tayport look to get back on track, following a couple of indifferent campaigns.

Winning the Currie Cup was not enough to keep Conway and Gilzean at the Canniepairt for next season.

The decision was not entirely unexpected, especially given Tayport's failure to challenge for the East Super League title.

The campaign had begun in positive fashion, however, with four straight league wins, including an opening day victory over then champions, Linlithgow Rose.

In addition, 'Port cruised into the final of the DJ Laing League Cup during that opening part of the season.

A home defeat against Whitburn appeared to be the turning point and, while only one goal separated the sides, a lack of belief seemed to emanate from that afternoon.

League wins became scarce, thereafter, with only two being recorded from the next twelve games played.

Only a few narrow victories towards the end prevented 'Port from being dragged into a relegation battle. Sixth place was not what the supporters were expecting.

All would have been forgiven, had Tayport made an impact in the Scottish Junior Cup.

Unfortunately, that bid ended at the fourth round stage, although the team were unlucky in their defeat to Pollok.

'Port had a chance to beat the Glasgow giants on the Canniepairt, but had to settle for a replay at Newlandsfield.

There, a good display counted for nothing, with 'Lok scoring a couple of late counters to inflict a 4-1 defeat.

There was also a lack of fortune in two big cup meetings against Lochee United.

The Bluebells won the League Cup, on penalties, having benefited from a couple of debatable decisions during the Laing Park final.

Then, a couple of weeks later, Tayport lost another shoot-out to Lochee, this time in the East of Scotland Cup.

Less acceptable were the losses to Thornton Hibs and Dundee Violet, in the Redwood Leisure Cup and Challenge Cup, respectively.

Hibs snatched victory on the Canniepairt, with a late goal against the run of play, but Violet outplayed Tayport at Glenesk Park.

It was at Glenesk that 'Port did lift some silverware, in the shape of the Currie Cup, at the expense of Forfar West End and that triumph proved to be the swansong for Conway and Gilzean, who leave with the club's thanks and best wishes for the future.