Laird: We should be very proud

Defender reflects on Monday night’s play-off defeat, and responds to questions about his future

SCOTT LAIRD says everyone connected with Stevenage should be proud of the club’s achievements over the last three seasons.

Speaking moments after the 1-0 defeat at Bramall Lane on Monday night, the left-back cut a poignant figure when asked to describe the mood of the dressing room after coming so close to another play-off final. And while the players’ disappointment was obvious, Laird was keen to focus on the remarkable success story Boro have enjoyed in his time at the Lamex Stadium.

“We’ve been very lucky the last three and a half, four years I’ve been here where every season has ended in joy, but it’s ended in defeat this time,” said the 24-year-old. “It’s not a nice feeling, and we haven’t been used to losing very often, but to put on the show we have done in the last couple of years is something we should be very proud of.”

He admits United deserved to go through to the final over the course of the two legs, in which Boro struggled to replicate the form that had earned them their place in the top six during the final six matches of the league season.

“Their fan base is massive and in the second half sometimes it seemed like their supporters could just create a chance the way they almost suck the ball in,” he said. “And you look at the resources they’ve got as well but we can’t use that as an excuse and we probably lost to the better team on the day and we wish them luck in the final.”

Speculation has circulated for the past few weeks that a number of first team players will leave the club during the close season, and when asked if he thinks the squad will disband, the former Plymouth man admitted he is unsure of what the future holds for him and his team-mates.

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Laird is out of contract this summer, and reports have suggested he will link up with former manager Graham Westley at Preston North End.

“As I’ve said before it’s been a special four and a half years and there are some great memories to take away,” he said. “Whatever happens will happen – people move on, people might stay – but we’ll have to wait and see. But all I can say is the time I’ve been here has been the best of my footballing life and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

“It’s something special here. I’ve never witnessed anything like it. Even though I’m still young in my football career, I’ve been at a few places and seen a few dressing rooms – and at a higher level as well – but nothing compares to this dressing room.

“We’re best friends, and we don’t just go in every day for the job, we go in because we’re a family and it’s just a very sad feeling at the moment for everyone.”

Laird also said he wanted to thank the Stevenage supporters personally for the support he has received during his time at the club. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the supporters and the way they stayed behind at the end of the game and the way they’ve been in the time I’ve been here has been brilliant,” he said.

“Again they’ve shown off their credentials on TV and they’ve got everything to be proud of.

“I want to say personally thank you for the support they gave me the whole time I’ve been here and I love them.”

And finally, when asked if Boro can maintain their upward momentum following Monday night’s disappointment as well as the uncertainty regarding several first team players’ futures, Laird has no doubt the good times can continue in the years to come.

“Of course they can,” he assured. “They are a very well run club with a good chairman and a good manager. They don’t spend above their means and they aren’t in danger of money troubles.

“They have got some good people in and around the club and I think there are only going to be good things to come for Stevenage Football Club and hopefully they can keep pushing on.”