Ex-Hibs kid David Gold left on cusp of fairytale glory with Arbroath
The League One title was theirs but only for a few seconds, Arbroath’s moment of glory put on ice as news filtered through at Gayfield Park that Raith Rovers had postponed the party with a late, late equaliser against basement side Stenhousemuir.
And, revealed former Hibs player David Gold, word of Liam Buchanan’s strike was delivered in a fashion only football can supply, cheers from the supporters of Angus rivals Montrose – even although their side had been beaten.
It is, however, inevitable that the Red Lichties will celebrate promotion to the Championship, tomorrow’s match away to Brechin City offering the opportunity to do so with three games still remaining.
Should Dick Campbell’s side take at least a point at Glebe Park it will cap a remarkable journey for Gold and his team-mates, Arbroath having finished second bottom of League Two only three years ago.
The following season saw them top the pile in that division but rather that simply consolidate in League One last season, they missed out on back-to-back promotions by being beaten in the play-offs by Dumbarton.
Undeterred, they’ve upset the odds again as they’ve left Raith, heavily fancied at the start of the season given they are the only full-time club, trailing in their wake.
However, even although he and his team-mates would appear to have one hand on the trophy, 26-year-old Gold insisted nothing was being taken for granted, choosing to ignore the fact that Arbroath enjoyed a 5-1 in Brechin earlier in the season with him claiming the opening goal.
Pointing out that Brechin have their own agenda as they seek to claw their away from the threat of relegation, he said: “We’re not getting carried away, anything can happen in football and we still have to go out there tomorrow with the same mindset we’ve shown all season.
“We probably turned in our best performance of the season last time we were there, but they gave us a difficult time in our two home games and this will be another tough match as they have a lot to play for themselves.”
Only willing to concede Arbroath are in “a good position”, 12 points ahead of Raith with only 12 to play for, he added: “We know a draw against Brechin will be enough, but the aim will be to get the win.
“It would have been nice to have done that in front of our own fans last week but unfortunately that wasn’t to be. When our game against Montrose had finished we were told Raith had been beaten but then their fans began cheering as if they’d won the game rather than losing it.
“As one of our local rivals they were just happy that at least we hadn’t won the league against them. That’s just the sort of banter you get in football, it’s all just part of the game.”
Tomorrow’s match will actually be a third local derby in as many weeks for Arbroath, a 2-1 defeat by Forfar having preceded last weekend’s win.
Gold said: “I don’t think you can say we’ve had an easy run-in playing all our local rivals. But this is a tough league, obviously Raith are there but there’s also the likes of Forfar and East Fife while Montrose are also just out of the play-off places at the moment.”
Now in his fourth season with Arbroath, Gold believes their success in recent seasons is pretty easy to explain. He said: “Dick Campbell’s man management is excellent. He and the team he has about them are terrific and if you look at his CV he’s done well with a number of clubs on a part-time level.
“But the core of the boys have been there since I joined the club. There’s only been the odd wee tweak from season to season. We’ve got a good squad, it’s a good club and we are doing well. Everyone connected with the club has done their part.
“Dick and his team make it a good place to be, you want to turn up, work hard in training and enjoy your football, I think you can see that given the number of boys who have wanted to stay with the club.
“We won League Two on the last game of the season and I thought we did well last season. We should probably have finished third but for a crazy defeat on the last day which put us down to fourth.
“But we were unlucky in the play-offs – we lost out 3-2 on aggregate to Dumbarton – but in terms of performance I think you’d be had pushed to say who was the better team.
“I think if you had said to us at the start of this season that we’d be going into the last four games 12 points ahead we’d have bitten your hand off.”
Gold insisted that such had been the players’ focus on getting themselves over the line they were unaware even if there had been any celebrations planned last week – or if there are any pencilled in should everything go well tomorrow.
He said: “We don’t have a clue as to what goes on behind the scenes. It’s that boring old cliche of win the next game – that’s what we have been doing. A few people have asked me if the champagne had to be put back on ice but I couldn’t tell you. I don’t think there was, that’s not what we are about.”
Arbroath may be part-time but for Gold football remains a full-time occupation, the midfielder running the highly popular Gold and Gray Soccer Academy fellow footballer Ross Gray.
And, he admitted, that other than training on Monday and Wednesday nights at McDiarmid Park with his team-mates, he’s hardly had time to focus on tomorrow, with the schools Easter holidays seeing 100 kids honing their skills at the Jack Kane Centre and at Dundas Park.
He said: “I got into it a couple of years and since then it’s grown arms and legs. I’m absolutely loving it, we have a lot of different projects that we look after, we have a few relationships with local boys’ clubs, we offer one-to-one sessions, small groups, birthday parties and so on.
“We cater for a lot, but to get youngsters out playing is brilliant, really rewarding.”