FRASER DUNCAN reflected on his team's performance throughout the season so far as the winter weather decimated the Scottish football calendar.

For the second matchday in a row Sauchie found themselves halted by a weather postponement.

In an exclusive chat with Advertiser Sport, Duncan said: "The boys have been in at MXP Gym in Stirling, they were in there on Saturday morning and throughout last week.

"Due to the weather at the moment it's impossible to get out. We can't get on astroturfs because they're frozen, we can't get on the grass pitch because it's frozen and they can't even go on the roads to run because it's too dangerous.

"Craig Comrie's took our guys to the gym and that's been great for them, keeps them ticking over.

"We're hoping that we get one session this week and then it's Christmas and we'll try to get another couple of sessions in during the week after that.

"We've got the game against Oakley on the Friday night but with the weather we'll just need to wait and see."

It's not uncommon for teams in Scotland's lower leagues to face regular postponements at this time of year and while Duncan sometimes feels a winter break would be the right way to go, it's came at an unfortunate time this season.

"We're in a position now where we can't drop any more points and we don't want to be cut short," Duncan continued. "If we want to push Linlithgow Rose as far as we can we can't drop any more points.

"It's a good chance to get some injuries cleared up and get players back. We've been playing well the last few weeks so the break's maybe came at the wrong time for us but the biggest thing is not to get frustrated. I don't want to push the boys too hard, too.

"We've done that in years gone by where we've played two or three friendlies in the winter break and picked up a handful of stupid, unnecessary injuries. I want to go into the new year as fresh as we can.

"We don't want to come back and not be where we should be so we've got to be right on it all the time. It's difficult, really difficult but we just have to try and keep the boys ticking over.

"We spoke to the boys at the start of the season and set a target for ourselves of a certain points tally. We've managed to get to that and actually outdone it a wee bit.

"We also wanted to be in all the cup competitions beyond the new year and we wanted to be in a position, come the new year, where we're still in the hunt for something in the new year.

"We've given ourselves an amazing chance, we are in the hunt if I'm being honest.

"It's difficult," he adds."Linlithgow are eight points clear; they were five points, but somehow they were given three points for the game they lost last weekend to Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale – something about fielding an ineligible player.

"That's made things more difficult for us and it makes the job even harder for us but the boys now know exactly where they've got to be now."

Despite the gap, Duncan said he was delighted with where his team are at the moment.

He continued: "We just need to make sure we go into the new year having picked up three points against Oakley and just start all over again.

"The next target has been set and that's to be in all the cup competitions come the end of January and to have closed the gap to whatever it can be.

"We want to go into our next game against Linlithgow with the gap not at eight points, but unfortunately it's out of our hands. We're having to rely on other people but we just need to take care of our business.

"It's important for us to make it as difficult as we can for them and the way we do that is by picking up as many points as possible."

Duncan added: "If someone said at the start of the season come this time we'd be sitting second and eight points behind the leaders I'd have bitten their hand off.

"We're getting better and better every week and I don't want to look ahead to next season but I've said to the boys if we keep going the way we're going and keep on progressing then next season's going to be brilliant for us."

One disappointment of this campaign was the exit of the Scottish Cup which came against Linlithgow Rose.

Duncan said: "We're still in all the cups except the Scottish Cup which is really disappointing.

"That was a hard one to take, a sore one to take. It was probably one of the hardest days I've had at Sauchie as a manager.

"I just felt like nothing went for us, we should have had more out of the game. I'm not blaming the officials but they weren't very kind to us, the ball wouldn't break for us and we were the much better side on the day. It's important that we make up for that."

On the positive side, Duncan has been making strides to ensure his squad are committed for next season as soon as possible.

He said: "We've got 10 players already signed on for next season and another four or five will probably be done in the next few weeks. We're hoping to have the core of our squad all signed up by the middle of January.

"It's really important so we can come back after the break and concentrate on football without having to worry about players that are out of contract. Then, when summer comes, it'll be great for me because, for the first time, it'll allow me to fully concentrate on bringing in what we need, those extra bits of quality that we need to really go and push on.

"We've got a really strong squad at the moment, I'm happy with what I've got. We're looking to bring in one in January, we've been in discussions already with a player for the last couple of weeks and we're hoping to get that deal done next month."

Ahead of the festive period, Duncan paid tribute to those in the stands who have provided such a support to his team.

"The fans have been brilliant," Duncan said. "From the start of the season until now and all throughout last season, they've been superb.

"It's a benefit to the club that we're now in the Scottish Cup and it gives the fans something to look forward to every year.

"I can only say I'm so proud of the team to get to the third round two years in a row. It's absolutely brilliant.

"If you think of a club the size of Sauchie getting to the third round it's a massive achievement. I'm delighted with that and it's down to the players and the way we've been playing but it's also down to the fans.

"Their support's been brilliant. Some of the young kids that come down in the winter and support us for 90 minutes have been exceptional. I hope they all have a good Christmas, stay safe and enjoy themselves."

Sauchie's next match will be the home tie against Oakley United in the East of Scotland Premier Division on Friday, December 30 at 7.30pm.