SCOTT TAGGART is loving the amount of games Alloa are playing at the moment as he insists there’s no way to replicate being on the pitch.

Brian Rice has organised plenty of pre-season friendlies for his side based on his own experience of playing in England and, speaking after Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Cumbernauld Colsts, Taggart admits it’s the best way to prepare for the season ahead.

He told Advertiser Sport: “It’s been good, obviously got a good few games coming up and I think all the boys are enjoying it rather than just training and running on the pitch.

“Best way to get fitness is pre-season friendlies and we’ve got plenty of them. That’s the second one this week, it’ll take the boys a wee bit of time, obviously we’ve been off for a wee bit. It was a warm pitch on a warm day but I thought we done well. It was a good win.

“Time off was long enough. I’ve had seasons where it’s maybe only been a couple of weeks and then you’re back in. I missed the end of last season as well so I was raring to get back into it and start playing football again.

“You can’t replicate that out there [in training]. Even with fitness, you can run as much as you want but you need to get the match fitness up and we’ve got plenty of games to get that so hopefully when it comes to the [Premier Sports] cup we’re ready to go.

“Everyone is looking forward to the season but at the moment it’s all about getting your fitness up with no injuries to the team. We missed a couple of the boys today but they’ll be back. It’s just about getting ready for the start of the season.”

With trialists, new signings and youth players stepping up, there’s plenty of new faces around the team but Taggart is more than happy to pass on any words of wisdom he can.

He continued: “It happens at every club all over Scotland. There’s a good few boys who have been here for a while now and we know what to expect and we can pass on some information to the new boys or the young ones coming through.”

Rumours online throughout the off season suggested Taggart may follow Alan Trouten out the door but the defender insists that while there was interest, Alloa was the only place for him.

He said: “I’ve had it a couple of times but I’ve never really wanted to leave Alloa to be honest. This year there was probably teams in the league we’re in just now and the league above that were asking but I never rushed into it, I took some time away and the manager was great with me.

“As soon as you take some time away and you think about it and speak to the manager I didn’t want to go anywhere else to be honest. You’re not going to get a better club than Alloa.”

While there are pre-season friendlies and the Premier Sports Cup to come, Taggart is already looking forward to another league campaign.

Asked if the club can have a more successful season than last, when they finished fifth, Taggart said: “I don’t see why not.

“We finished the end of last season well and the manager’s been great since he came in. he’s gave everyone a lift and everyone’s got a smile on their face, looking forward to turning up to training and playing games.

“We’re really looking forward to it. You never know. It’s going to be a competitive league, probably one of the most competitive League One’s had in a long, long time. We’ll go into it [feeling] confident and we’ll fancy our chances against anyone.”

Reflecting on his comment about everyone having a smile on their face, Taggart insisted that’s such an important factor at this level.

He said: “Especially at part-time because a lot of our guys are out from early hours in the morning. When you’re turning up at training on a Tuesday and Thursday night you want to come and enjoy it and have a good session.

“We obviously come to work but that doesn’t mean boys can’t have a laugh and a joke at the right times. Like I said guys are out working, the next day they’re out working again at early hours.

“That’s a massive, massive thing at part-time level, you’ve got to enjoy it.”