Junior Cup Final: Jordyn Sheerin aims to leave as a winner

Jordyn Sheerin has changed his lifestyle off the pitch after heeding advice from those who believe in him. Picture: Jordyn Sheerin
Jordyn Sheerin has changed his lifestyle off the pitch after heeding advice from those who believe in him. Picture: Jordyn Sheerin
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Jordyn Sheerin will stay at home while his Musselburgh Athletic team-mates jet off to Magaluf for a few days as their reward for reaching the final of the Scottish Junior Cup.

Chairman Charlie McGlynn has paid out of his own pocket to send Burgh’s squad to the party resort in Mallorca for their achievement in getting to the final, where they’ll face Auchinleck Talbot on Sunday at Rugby Park, but Sheerin won’t join them after what is set to be his last appearance for the Olivebank club.

It symbolises how the lifestyle of the striker has changed from his younger days, that he is forsaking a three-day booze-up to focus on maintaining his fitness ahead of what will likely be a move back to senior football this summer, with several league clubs already having made offers for his services.

Instead of hitting the beach, Sheerin will head to the gym and ponder his next move with his agent Gary Mackay.

“I’ll sit down after the final and talk with people who are close to me and see what is going to be best for myself,” he said.

“It wouldn’t be fair to myself or my family or anyone around me who believes in me, if I was to go away to Magaluf for a few days. I’m going to stay put, keep up my fitness and work hard. I don’t think there will be much of a close season for me.”

Sheerin has matured both on and off the park in recent years after spells with East Fife, Arbroath and East Stirling as a teenager – a time when he admits he lacked belief that he could make a successful career out of the game, hoping his ability would solely get him through.

The lack of belief saw him drop down to play amateur football for Heriot Vale for two seasons to rekindle his love for the game after admitting he hadn’t been enjoying his football, before ex-Mussleburgh manager David McGlynn brought him to Olivebank last summer.

He has went on to become something of a revelation for the East Lothian side, with 40 goals in 36 appearances so far for the Junior Cup hopefuls having put him on the radar of several senior clubs, with Sheerin also topping the goalscoring charts for the competition with ten goals so far.

He said: “I used to have a lack of belief in myself. Everybody around me would tell me that I could do it, but it never quite hit me on the head that they were telling the truth. I just thought they were saying it.

“A lot of young players get told, ‘This is your chance and stick with it because you’ll regret it if you don’t’. At the time I always thought my ability would take over that and I would still be fine, whereas you’ve got to put everything into it. I wasn’t eating right and I wasn’t training to my full potential, whereas I really should’ve been putting everything into it.

“Stevie Crawford [current Hearts assistant coach] used to always take me aside at East Fife and tell me I could go as far as I wanted in the game, but I would have to change my lifestyle. At the time, although he’s done everything in the game, I just thought my ability would take me through, which doesn’t quite work out. Could I turn back the clock and listen to him this time? I’m sure I would, but that’s a 25-year-old man telling you that and not an 18-year-old boy telling you that. I was just unfortunate that I never quite wisened up until I got a little bit older.

“If you go out and you enjoy your football and you enjoy what you’re doing and you work hard then good things will happen, whereas if you don’t put anything into it and you aren’t enjoying it, you’re not going to get anywhere.”

Musselburgh are huge underdogs for the match in Ayrshire against ten-times winners Auchinleck, but it is a tag that they’ve risen to throughout their journey to the final and one which they work best under.

Drawn against Linlithgow Rose in the semi-final, Burgh were dismissed as no-hopers before a ball had even been kicked in earnest, but they prevailed 5-4 on aggregate after a memorable first-leg performance at Prestonfield which, at one stage, had them leading 3-1 and down to ten men.

They’ll have to overcome that underdog tag once again if they wish to return to “The Honest Toun” with silverware on Sunday night against the Talbot machine, with their manager Tommy Sloan having masterminded the club to four Junior Cup successes already in his current 12 year tenure.

Sheerin insists Talbot will have to deal with the pressure being all on them, whereas he believes Musselburgh, likely to be backed by nearly 1300 travelling supporters, can play with freedom considering they aren’t expected to emerge victorious.

He said: “I think you are better going into the game playing without pressure. As long as we believe we can do it and everybody associated with Musselburgh believes we can do it, then we can do it. If you are going in as the top dogs then there is a pressure on you to perform and that’s an added thing which you don’t really need.

“Everybody in the squad believes we can go and do it. It’s going to be a tall order as they are a great side who are always there or thereabouts and they’ve won four Scottish Cups in the last ten years. They’ve been there and done it before, whereas Musselburgh obviously got there in 2011, but didn’t quite do it. This is our chance to get a bit payback on them.

“When we play the big teams in front of the big crowds is when we all really come together as a team and show what we can do.”