David Greenhill may have swapped the SPFL for the Lowland League this summer, but the Spartans midfielder believes he has joined a league club in all but name.
Having started his professional career with St Johnstone, Greenhill had spells with Clyde, Alloa, Berwick Rangers and latterly East Stirlingshire before his arrival at Ainslie Park in the summer.
Albeit playing at a lower level, his time as a Spartans has already convinced him that the club is perfectly set up to join the SPFL – provided they do their part on the pitch. “Everything’s in place,” said the 30-year-old. “The club’s professional really – everything is right there with the facilities and the make-up of the club is fantastic. It’s better than some Senior clubs I’ve been at in terms of facilities and you get well looked after. It’s a bit different in that there’s more focus on the sports science and things like that, so it’s all been good.
“That’s the ambition of the club – along with a lot of clubs in the Lowland League – to make that push into the league structure. That’s certainly the aim for Spartans now that there’s the pyramid system – everyone’s trying to get into the league.”
After almost a decade in the lower leagues, the Edinburgh man was after a change of scene without the travel commitments that many part-time pros face in order to keep playing alongside their day job.
“The locality of it really was a big thing,” he admitted. “After playing in the third division [now SPFL League Two] for the best part of ten years, I’ve had enough of travelling, leaving work early to go to training and not really seeing much of the kids. I live in Silverknowes so now I could walk to training if I wanted! It’s worked out well in terms of that – it’s the perfect match.
“East Stirling offered me a deal and East Fife offered me a contract but I’d had enough of playing in that league. When you’ve played there as many years as I have, I kind of got bored playing against the same teams all the time, the same faces, the same stadiums, so I just fancied a wee change. There is a wee bit of a difference between the league and the Lowland League. A lot of people underestimate the Scottish lower leagues – it’s still a good standard. Probably a better standard than the Lowland League, although not by much.”
Greenhill freely admits he’s not the most knowledgable about his new opponents, but is hoping he’s learned enough to help Spartans to their first three points of the season against Dalbeattie Star at Ainslie Park tomorrow.
Following 1-1 draws with Stirling University and Preston Athletic respectively, he’s keen to build some momentum as Spartans bid to regain the title from rivals Edinburgh City. “Overall a draw was probably fair against Preston,” he conceded. “But we can play a lot better; the way we played on the Sunday [against Stirling] anyway – we deserved to win that one. I’m finding out that every game is tough in this league. It’s a case of getting a wee run together and seeing where it takes us.”