Thursday, 7 July 2011

The baby-faced assassin signs on.

Paul Quinn: topping a goal scoring chart near you in the near future.

The Stenhousemuir FC official website today announced that cherub-faced striker Paul Quinn has agreed terms for next season with the club. The 20 year-old forward was originally signed on loan from St Mirren in 2010 but made the move permanent after his crucial goals in the victory against Dumbarton and the draw with East Fife at New Bayview were instrumental in the Warriors avoiding relegation. Although manager Davie Irons has stated that Quinn "will be a vital member of our squad for next season", it seems more than likely that, with Andy Rodgers and Stewart Kean the two obvious candidates to fill the striking berth, the player is perhaps destined for a bit-part role within the club once again.

I like Paul Quinn. He reminds me of the bastard offspring of the singer from Keane and Oor Willie's long-time associate Soapy Soutar, if you can imagine such a thing. When it was announced that he was one of the players offered to join the squad for pre-season training, most fans probably felt ambivalent and nonplussed. If he had chose to leave the club, he would have left with warm wishes; had he stayed, it would have been met with an indifferent shrug of the shoulders. Nothing more. Some may have even thought that if the club had any aspirations of finshing in the playoff positions, then better, stronger forwards would have to be brought in and that Quinn should be jettisoned. Yet while he may lack the technique or potency of Kean or Rodgers or other more established forwards in the division, I find Quinn to be rather underrated. For his height and build, he is deceptively strong on the ball can act smartly when the it's played into his head, chest or feet and he can link well with his teammates, whether as an orthodox forward or if coming deeper into the midfield positions. He has shown himself to be a fine finsher of the ball and, although these occasions are rare, can also produce sublime moments like this (1:55 into this video). Most impressive, however, is his work ethic. He's tenacious and energetic and is more than prepared to run the channels and harry and press the oppositon. His opportunities this season will probably be limited but Quinn has proven to be a useful player to keep in reserve.

Could Quinn be trusted to lead the line if Kean or Rodgers are suspended, injured, or playing poorly? Although he has some admirable qualities, I have my doubts. It's one thing to bring him on with fifteen minutes remaining and hope that his doggedness and endeavour can force a goal, but it's something completely different to expect him to start on a regular basis and score goals consistently... I remain unconvinced that he has that capabilities to rise to this challenge. Irons has stated that he plans to bring another striker in (possibly Stuart Noble, formerly of East Fife, Airdrie United and Alloa and who played as a trialist in the friendly defeat at Montrose last weekend) and bearing this in mind, perhaps he has his doubts over Quinn's abilities too. The forthcoming friendly on Saturday at home to Annan should offer further indications about what his intentions are.

We wait with baited breath.

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