Having learned his trade in the sunnier climes of northern Portugal, it’s no surprise that striker Pedro Moutinho has taken time to adapt to the rigours of Junior football, according to his Bo’ness United manager Allan McGonigal.
The 36-year-old, a former Falkirk favourite, had featured fleetingly since his arrival in July, before he firmly announced himself with a hat-trick in his side’s 9-0 Fife & Lothians Cup triumph at Newburgh United last weekend.
“It’s probably been a bit of a culture shock for Pedro to go from the silky soccer that he knows. He was a top player in the Seniors and everyone at Falkirk sees him as a hero from when he was there,” said McGonigal.
“I think it’s taken a while for Pedro to adjust, he’s probably not been used to players booting him up and down the park. I don’t think he’s had the protection from the referees that he’s deserved.
“In the games that he was playing [before last Saturday], he wouldn’t get a foul for something that he’d get in the Seniors, so it’s been difficult for him. It was difficult for him to understand what was happening. Even though he’s 36 years old it’s been a learning curve.
“He’s a good boy and he wants to learn. He’s not been one bit of bother, he’s been a complete professional – whether he’s started or he’s not featured. We’ve just said to him to get his work-rate up, there’s no question that he’s got fantastic ability and he’ll score goals. He’s probably the best finisher by a country mile at the club. Hopefully he can hit the ground running and we can see the best of him.”
Former Berwick Rangers boss McGonigal is confident that his second-placed side can push on now, with several players having returned from injury in recent weeks. And ahead of hosting Fauldhouse United tomorrow, he admitted he’ll settle for nothing less than securing the title this season.
“Our goal is to win the league, finishing second isn’t good enough for me or my team – we are winners,” he said.
Elsewhere, leaders Penicuik Athletic visit Sauchie. The two Roses – Bonnyrigg and Linlithgow – visit Broxburn and Tayport.