Dean Ballantyne: It’s time to take Dunbar United seriously
Even he is surprised by their sharp rise, but Dunbar United striker Dean Ballantyne believes manager Geoff Jones’ grand-plan is bearing fruit and it’s time they were taken seriously.
The Seasiders have gone from Junior whipping boys to fighting it out with the cream of the crop in the East of Scotland Premier Division in just four years. From a club who took more than a decade to make it out of the South Division, the lowest rung of the East Juniors, the last few years under Jones must feel like heady days for all involved at New Countess Park.
Striker Ballantyne, who started the journey with the East Lothian men four years ago, and is now in his fifth season at the club, revealed that the manager’s aspirations are being realised.
“We’ve built up really quickly and I think that’s what Geoff’s aim has been since coming in,” said the 23-year-old. “I always remember when Geoff first signed me, he talked highly of Dunbar, of what his aims were for the club and for the town and I think he has succeeded in that. Everything he said to me has kind of gone above and beyond. We are building as a club, we are trying to get our SFA License and we are moving forward at quite a fast pace, it’s enjoyable to be apart of.
“I grew up in Musselburgh and I always watched them, while my dad played for Newtongrange. Four or five years ago, those two clubs specifically were bigger than Dunbar by quite a bit, but over the last few years I think we have shown we can pull our weight with these bigger clubs.
“We went to Linlithgow last year and won 4-1, and that was kind of the moment when everybody in Dunbar went ‘right, we are actually pretty serious right now’. Over the past however many years we’ve been progressing and progressing and we’ve got to the stage now where everyone in the changing room knows what we capable of, it’s just going out there and showing it to everyone else.”
Dunbar host Linlithgow Rose tomorrow pretty much a year on from that unprecedented result at Prestonfield, a match in which Ballantyne netted a double, and lists as one of his most memorable for the club. “It was an incredible game, and apart from winning the league, three years ago, as a game goes that was the highlight of my four years so far at Dunbar. It took everybody by surprise.
“With last year’s result I don’t think there is as much fear as you would think of when playing Linlithgow. We are definitely up for it and ready to give it our best shot, and hopefully we will pick up from where we left off.
“We’ve proven ourselves already, we’ve beaten Hill of Beath and we are capable of beating the likes of these teams. We’ll just keep enjoying ourselves, keep playing football and if we keep winning we’ll see how far it can take us.”