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WILD ROVER SWORE HE'D BOOT US OUT; Player tells of chief's outburst.

Byline: IAN DOW

A RAITH Rovers director swore at players and threatened them with the sack after the ousting of manager John McVeigh, a tribunal heard.

Director Colin McGowan allegedly told the players: "If you don't get the f****** finger out, two thirds of you will be out of a job."

The allegations came on the second day of a hearing at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court where McVeigh, now boss of Albion Rovers, is suing the Starks Park club for pounds 45,000.

The tribunal was told Raith players were devastated when McVeigh was sacked.

Paul Shields, now with Celtic, said they only found out about the sacking after it appeared on Teletext.

Shields, 19, said: "None of us could believe it and there was a very quiet atmosphere in the dressing-room."

McVeigh was ousted on December 1, 1999, after five months in the job and he claimed directors asked him to resign.

He said he had a verbal agreement but despite repeated requests he hadn't been given a contract to sign.

The court had earlier heard allegations that young players were bullied during his time as manager.

But reserve team boss Kenny Black, Paul Shields and the ex Rovers' captain Steve Tosh denied McVeigh was a bully.

Black said: "He can be boisterous and like any football manager can shout."

Shields told the court: "He shouts like all managers do but I could not describe John McVeigh as a bully."

He denied players cheered the news of McVeigh's sudden departure.

He said: "There definitely was no cheering. The first team were gutted.

"The players had a meeting with the directors and one of them, Colin McGowan, did a lot of swearing."

He claimed McGowan warned: "If you don't get the f****** finger out, two thirds of you will be out of a job."

Steve Tosh, now with Livingston, said he was regarded as a senior player at the club, along with Paul Brown, Alex Burns and keeper Guido Van de Kamp.

When asked if senior players had complained about youngsters being bullied, Tosh said: "If any senior player had gone to the Board about allegations it would have been myself, Paul, Alex or Guido and I didn't and the other three say they didn't."

The case continues.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 2, 2001
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