WHEN the football season does eventually resume, new Forfar Farmington head coach Ryan McConville hopes it will be less turbulent than the few weeks that were squeezed in at the start of the year.

The 36-year-old has had a nomadic coaching career, starting in his native Northern Ireland and winding its way through the United States (twice) South Africa, Russia and China. He was recommended to Scottish Building Society SWPL1 club Forfar by another Farmington – his previous side in Connecticut.

A former semi-pro player with Armagh City, McConville guided Linfield, who are now Northern Ireland's top women's club, to their first Premiership title in 2016. That's when the travelling really started and he has arrived – unexpectedly by his own account – in Scotland.

Pre-season friendlies against Cove Thistle and Boroughmuir Thistle, both lost, didn't augur well and there was a major setback when two Americans – Haley Kern and Anne Metz – were banned from playing by prohibitive Home Office visa regulations.

“I worked with them during my time in America,” McConville explained. “Anne is a great girl who embraced the culture we're trying to introduce straight away. She only played one game, but what she did for our club, and our girls, was nothing short of amazing.

“Believe it or not I also had three South Africans ready to come over and play – two of them internationalists – but there were visa issues there also. If we'd have got them, and the two Americans, we'd definitely have been a surprise packet, that's for sure. I'm not saying we'd have been in the top four, but I know we wouldn't have been relegated.”

Yet, while he might not have got, or retained, all his targets, McConville brought in two internationalists from Northern Ireland – Billie Simpson and Lauren Brennan – and a third, Jade Lindsay, from Hamilton. Yet another overseas recruit, Icelander Magdalena Olafsdottir, left by mutual consent after a month's trial.

“The friendlies were very concerning, because you expect to beat lower league teams,” McConville admitted. “But the players we've brought in are internationalists, so that's improved the tempo of training and all sorts of factors to make the team better.

“I had to sell it to the Northern Ireland players by saying they'd be putting themselves in the shop window if they came to Forfar. Play well with us, and if Rangers and Celtic approach you we're not going to stand in your way if you're offered a full time contract.

“We also signed Megan Paterson, who was the Hearts captain last year, and her personality has matched what we're looking for.”

Aside from Lindsay, who works in Glasgow, any non-Scottish players at the club are being put up by host families in Forfar. Plans to get them part-time jobs fell through because of the current crisis.

Wins against Kilmarnock and Motherwell in the League Cup were obvious indicators of progress, but even in the group stage there was a setback. Forfar didn't travel to Glasgow for their game against Partick Thistle because of adverse weather conditions, and then lost an appeal to Scottish Women's Football when the home side were awarded a 3-0 win.

“The storms during the League Cup were horrendous, and a danger for travelling,” McConville pointed out. “We had girls coming from Aberdeen, so they would have had to be up at 6am to make the bus in Forfar – and then the journey to Glasgow.

“At the time roads were closed because of flash floods the wind. A blind man on a galloping horse would have known it was impossible for someone to take that chance.

“Next thing you know we're told we didn't contact the right person to inform them we weren't travelling and Partick are awarded the win. We're a small club. Would it have happened to a Celtic and Rangers? Or a Glasgow City or Hibs? I don't think it would.”

Despite the decision, Forfar are still on course to reach the quarter finals – but there's yet another problem. The competition could be abandoned to accommodate the fixture pile up. And having lost their only league game, also against Motherwell, Forfar may also be disadvantaged if it is decided to play only two rounds of fixtures, instead of the scheduled three.

It has, then, been an eventful start for McConville, who is also technical director at Forfar and has a secondary role with the Dundee Utd men's academy.

“There's still a lot of work to be done, but the committee have been brilliant,” he pointed out. “They've backed me as much as they can with their resources. I have to thank them for that.”