Joe Murray fires Haddington towards title bid

Goal rush: Joe Murray, centre. Pic: Toby Williams
Goal rush: Joe Murray, centre. Pic: Toby Williams
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Haddington Athletic’s new striker Joe Murray is confident the Millfield Park men can push for the South Division title this term in a repeat of Edinburgh United’s exploits last season.

Murray, 30, who joined from current South Division champions United two weeks ago for the second time, has already fired five goals in Haddington’s opening three games to send the East Lothian side to the league summit in their perfect start to the season.

Nine points from a possible nine with a goal difference of plus 13, Johnny Harvey’s start as Haddington boss has been unprecedented given the change in squad personnel over the summer.

The Hi-His had been expected to take time to gel with just eight of last season’s side remaining and 14 new players added to the squad, but the league favourites have got off to a flier.

“I’m quite surprised with how well we have started. Johnny [Harvey] has basically built a brand new team from nothing, so for us to gel that quickly it’s good,” said Murray, who scored a double in Haddington’s 8-0 win over Crossgates Primrose on Saturday.

“In the first game we seemed to click really quickly and then in the game against Whitburn we played some really good football, and on Saturday again – we are just getting better and better as it goes on.”

Murray is happy to be playing again after an initial two-year playing ban, shortened to six months after appeal, threatened to cut short his career.

The ban came from his time with LEAFA amateur side Pencaitland, when he was suspended for a match, but his name was changed on the teamsheet.

“It’s just good to get a game after coming back from suspension,” said Murray. “I had a suspension carried over and I didn’t realise my name was changed on the teamsheet.”

Murray believes Haddington should be targeting the league title and said: “I think we should definitely be aiming for the title. With the start we have had, there is no reason why we can’t kick on and do as well as we possibly can. Hopefully we can have a good cup run as well this year.

“Winning the league last season, we believed we wouldn’t lose that title. It’s the same this year, we need to get everyone believing that we can win the league.”