East Kilbride manager Kevin Rutkiewicz says the club have positive momentum heading into the new Lowland League campaign after lifting the Lowland League Cup with victory over Bo’ness United.
The 2021/22 term is now over for Kilby after a season of highs and lows culminated in a fourth-placed finish and three manager changes.
Former Stirling Albion boss Rutkiewicz took over from Chris Aitken in March and guided the K-Park club to their first silverware since 2019 courtesy of their 4-2 win at Ainslie Park.
Portuguese striker Joao Victoria broke the deadlock with a fine finish just before half-time and it set the stage for goals to rain down in Edinburgh.
Liam Watt curled a strike into the top corner before Cami Elliott’s diving header and a stunning fourth goal from Neil McLaughlin canceled out any retaliation from their fifth tier rivals.
They now head into their summer break on a high note after the difficult of losing another manager this Spring.
Rutkiewicz: “I am thrilled with the cup win on a personal level. But this one was all about the players and all about the squad as a whole as well.
“There will be a few clubs looking to go up from the Lowland League next season, that is for sure, we won’t be alone in trying to do that.
“When you start a season we want to win everything that’s available and that will be our aim when the new season kicks off.
“But this does allow us to finish with a nice taste in the mouth. It makes us hungry for more success. I hope the players come back hungry for more.
“Winning isn’t a choice, it becomes a habit when you start putting yourself in these positions.”
The former Aberdeen and St Johnstone player anticipates changes this summer and has already started to mold his squad in his image with the signing of versatile former Clyde and Motherwell defender Jonathan Page.
But cup success proves the nucleus of a good squad is present.
He added: “I said to the players, it’s a testament to them and the previous manager who put this team together. I said to the boys it won’t be consolation for anybody that has left the club.
“But it does back up the ideas that were here. I am glad the players went out, performed, scored the goals they did. I was pleased with everyone.
“Me and my assistant, Bill Orr, haven’t got a magic formula coming in here and we have said that.
“There is a talented bunch of players there. There are some young ones there who are prospering at the minute too so hopefully we can keep a lot of them together.
“But we will want to bring a bit of change and our own flavor looking to next season.”
East Kilbride will now enjoy an end of season break before returning for pre-season training for the 2022/23 Lowland League campaign next month.
Follow Lanarkshire Live Sport onTwitter via@LanLiveSport, like us onFacebookor find us onInstagramfor the latest sports news, pictures and video.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.