Spartans midfielder Kerry Montgomery, pictured below, has been announced as the Scottish Women’s Premier League Player of the Year. The award, voted for by fellow players, underlines Montgomery’s position as one of the emerging stars of the Scottish game.
A revelation for her club this term, she is now targeting making an impression on the national side as the curtain comes down on the 2014 campaign.
“I’m over the moon to win,” commented the 26-year-old playmaker. “For me, just making the shortlist was amazing and I didn’t expect to actually win it because of the calibre of player I was up against.”
It’s been a remarkable year for Montgomery after she made the brave decision to step back from her professional career as a Tanz beauty salon area manager to focus on football.
After being promoted from the club’s reserve side she was quickly spotted and approached by the SportScotland Institute of Sport, the national sports development body.
It was an opportunity the midfielder grasped with both hands and she hasn’t looked back, although she does admit it could have panned out very differently had her work not been so supportive.
She revealed: “When I got the opportunity to join the institute I knew how intense my training was going to become, so I had to weigh things up and be realistic.
“My work have been amazing with me in regards to time off, shift changes and giving me nights off for my training. They’ve allowed me to step back from my area manager role to focus on football for the foreseeable future.
“If they hadn’t been so supportive I doubt I would have been able to commit to the institute training because a senior management role would have been too demanding both mentally and physically.
“I took a demotion and a pay cut to focus on football, however I know that if there came a time when I wasn’t involved in the institute set-up, then I can go back to a more senior role within the company.”
Whilst her professional career has taken a backward step for the time being, on the park Montgomery has made remarkable strides forward.
Kerry quickly became a key ingredient in the Spartans’ midfield mix and is now targeting breaking into Anna Signeul’s Scotland squad next year.
Montgomery said: “I always knew this season would be a challenge after stepping up into the senior side.
“I believe I’m the type of person to thrive on a challenge, but even I didn’t expect it would go as well as it has for me.
“I’m still on the periphery of the Scotland squad and can only keep working hard to try and force may way into Anna’s plans.
“I’ve been fortunate to have been invited along to the national camps this season and the more experience I can gain will hopefully push me up the ladder and I can make the squad more regularly.”
Boss Debbi McCulloch ensured it was a double celebration at Ainslie Park after picking up the SWPL Manager of the Year award.