Former Hearts player Neil Janczyk had the opportunity to remain in SPFL League Two this season but instead opted to sign-up at Super League side Penicuik Athletic.
The 31-year-old, who has spent his entire career at senior level, left League Two outfit Clyde in the summer after five months and rejected an offer of a one-year deal at the club to move to Super League new boys Penicuik.
Just as Janczyk was pitching up at Penicuik Park, former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson was taking over the reigns as Clyde boss after Jim Duffy’s departure. However, Janczyk felt it was time for change and revealed Penicuik boss Craig Meikle was a big pull in making the move from League Two to junior level.
“I got offered another year through at Clyde but the travelling wasn’t working for me, he said. “I had been at Berwick [Rangers] before where I had really enjoyed it, but things never worked out as I wasn’t playing much at the time.
“I spoke to Jim Duffy and went through there [Clyde], but I just wanted to get something closer to home. In the leagues there isn’t really much closer to myself than Berwick, but I didn’t think I was going to go back there so I thought it was time to give the Juniors a bash.
“I spoke to a few teams in the Edinburgh area, but I particularly liked what Craig Meikle had to say about the club and what he was looking for going forward. I always look for honesty in a manager and I spoke to a few boys about him and they said he can sometimes be too honest.”
Penicuik have raised a few eyebrows in their maiden season in the Super League. They have more than held their own in their five league games so far, with a cracking victory away to Linlithgow Rose, while they held champions Bo’ness United to a 2-2 draw in their own backyard.
The Midlothian side sit in sixth place on seven points after their first home win of the season last weekend – a 2-1 victory over fellow newly-promoted side Fauldhouse United, but take a break from league action tomorrow when they host Premier League side Edinburgh United in the first round of the East of Scotland Cup.
Janczyk admits he’s not had the best start on a personal performance level, but he has been delighted with the way his new side have started the season although they aren’t getting carried away.
He said: “On the playing side I’ve not done that great myself yet, so I’m still trying to find my feet. I feel it is bit more frantic in the middle of the park. You don’t get as much time on the ball as you do at a higher level.
“All you’re doing is kind of playing for second balls and moving the ball on, it’s hard to get your foot on the ball and make a few passes. I’m sure I’ll get used to it though.
“If we had been offered the points we have just now at the start of the season, I think we would’ve definitely taken it given the start we had. All we can do is target staying up and then anything after that is a bonus. We aren’t getting carried away, fair enough we’ve had a decent start but that’s all it is.”
Edinburgh United boss Jack Lynch is looking forward to returning to Penicuik tomorrow after spending time at the club during his playing days.
Lynch, who took over at Premier League newcomers United in the summer, is also looking forward to catching up with Penicuik boss Meikle, with the two having enjoyed a battle or two earlier in their career while Lynch was a striker for Arniston Rangers and Meikle a defender for Bonnyrigg.
Lynch believes his side can go into the match without pressure given they are up against a Super League side, and has promised to attack given they have nothing to lose.
“Hopefully we can come away with a win; it would be a great result for us,” said Lynch.
“We should be going into every game wanting to win. We’ll go up there with an attacking formation; we won’t be going up there to take a doing. We’ve got nothing to fear.”
Both sides will be able to fill their bench for the first time this season after overcoming injury problems. Penicuik striker Ryan McCallum is in contention to start, while former Penicuik player Dean Knight is fit to face his former club.