Heriot-Watt plan for next big thing after graduation of Anton Dowds and Aidan Quinn to SPFL

Former Heriot-Watt Uni ace Anton Dowds has excelled at East Fife. Pic: SNSFormer Heriot-Watt Uni ace Anton Dowds has excelled at East Fife. Pic: SNS
Former Heriot-Watt Uni ace Anton Dowds has excelled at East Fife. Pic: SNS
Students need to think outside the box to attract new players

Heriot-Watt University is mostly renowned for helping students carve out successful careers in the business and engineering sectors.

However, the football department is also making headway with two former players now turning heads in the senior game.

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Following a string of impressive performances for the Riccarton-based outfit in the East of Scotland League, striker Anton Dowds and defender Aidan Quinn were rewarded with moves to Ladbrokes League One clubs East Fife and Montrose respectively. Dowds, 23, joined the Methil side in July 2018, while 21-year-old Quinn made the switch to the Gable Endies last month.

Uni first-team coach at the university Banji Koya is confident the talented duo won’t be the last to move up the leagues.

“The difference between the likes of ourselves and say Edinburgh and Stirling Universities is they naturally attract good football players,” Koya explained. “We don’t have the exposure of the Scottish Cup to offer our guys or anything like that so for us to have players moving on to senior clubs is a really big deal.

“What we do have is a pathway to help players go on to bigger and better things in their football careers. The training facilities are the best in the country and our ethos is very much on developing rather than winning matches. We maybe don’t win leagues, but the biggest sense of pride we take as a club is players going on to further their football development.

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“We also have two guys currently training with professional sides.”

Koya continued: “Since Anton left the feedback has been very good. He’s now their number-one striker. The credit has to go to Anton himself because his mindset to get better is extraordinary. We just gave him a platform to play, lifestyle advice and how to eat properly and things like that.

“I really believe he can play at an even higher level. If he gets the chance to go full-time and be in that environment then he’s only going to get better.

“As for Aidan, he had a few offers but I think he made the right move in going to Montrose. He made his debut against Raith a couple of weeks ago when he came on just after half-time and he scored and had an assist. He’s a really good player with a positive mindset.”