Penicuik’s unexpected rise reminds Kyle Allison of Kelty team

Kyle Allison
Kyle Allison
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Penicuik Athletic goalkeeper Kyle Allison has revealed he was taken by surprise at the quality of players at the club, but insists their current unbeaten run and surge to the top of the Super League standings is no fluke.

Allison joined Johnny Harvey’s men, initially on loan from last season’s champions Kelty Hearts in August, before he made the move permanent last month. The Dunfermline-based keeper won the title twice in a three-year spell at New Central Park, but things turned sour last season after a falling out with manager Thomas Courts and he found himself playing second fiddle to Kyle Marley.

Since joining Penicuik, Allison hasn’t been on a losing side yet – the club are currently ten league games unbeaten – and he’s confident their run can continue, highlighting the similarities he sees between his team-mates and former club Kelty, where he helped them to their first-ever Super League crown in 2015.

“I don’t think many people probably expected it from us,” said Allison on their start to the season. “I was probably a little bit naive when I first came to the club about the quality of the players that are at the club. I didn’t appreciate how good a ball-playing team Penicuik are. Johnny is at us all the time to pass the ball and we’re not allowed to play the ball long.

“As much as it’s a surprise, it’s not a surprise that we’re not in control of. The success we’ve had hasn’t happened by accident, chance or luck, it’s happened because of sustained hard work on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

“It just reminds of Kelty, and I say that to the boys at work, it’s very much a similar set-up with ambitious boys. Momentum is really important in football; all of a sudden your touch becomes better, you make better passes and you play on the front foot a lot more just because you’ve got that confidence.

“I see a lot of similarities between the two clubs. They are certainly very much similar with having two ambitious young managers, who demand a lot. The bar has been raised a wee bit now and I feel that and I felt that when I went in at Kelty as well. You start demanding more out of each other as players. It makes such a difference when you’re winning games.”

The 27-year-old former Cowdenbeath youth product owes much of his early season form to the hard work of Penicuik goalkeeping coach John Menzies. Allison feels he has been getting his rewards on a Saturday from being put through his paces twice a week by a coach who demands the best out of him.

That wasn’t the case last weekend, however, with Allison left red-faced after a keeping howler. Penicuik had kicked off away to Broughty, and despite not allowing their opponents a touch of the ball in the opening 28 seconds, Allison was left picking the ball out the back of his net after being deceived by a bobble.

“John Menzies has been brilliant; he’s a proper goalie coach,” continued Allison ahead of hosting Lochee United tomorrow, a side they didn’t pick a up a single point against last season.

“I didn’t appreciate how good a coach he was. John’s training with Conor [Easton] is excellent, the quality of training is really good and that makes such a difference. It allows me to represent myself well on a Saturday.

“Saturday was a bit of a nightmare. It’s just the way we play. If we’re going to be playing high-risk, playing the ball around the areas of the pitch we play in. The gaffer, fair play to him, came out and said he’d take responsibility for the way he wants us to play, but I’m never going to hide behind that. I’ll take ultimate responsibility because it’s still a howler from a goalie, no doubt about that.

“Credit to the boys, they dug us out a hole and ten minutes later we were ahead. I made a save in the second half when we were 2-1 up which helped us to go on and win the game, so it cancelled out the mistake I made in my mind.”

Allison has been in for a lot of stick all week, although most of it is self-inflicted after the keeper posted up a video of his gaffe on Twitter. he added: “There’s been plenty banter flying about on Twitter. I’ve had ex-players messaging me about it and ex-goalkeepers messaging me saying it can happen to the best of us. It’s just the way it is.”