Aiden Malone has revealed he couldn’t turn down the chance to join Linlithgow Rose in the summer after being sold on the move by the ambition shown by manager Mark Bradley and his assistant Paul Ronald.
The 25-year-old, who spent the start of last season at Queen’s Park before ending it by securing promotion to League One with Forfar Athletic via the play-offs, rejected opportunities to remain in the senior ranks to sign for the Prestonfield club.
Dropping down a level didn’t concern the striker, who made a name for himself at Cumnock Juniors where he helped fire the Ayrshire club to the West First Division title in 2016 before departing for Hampden Park.
The Airdrie-based frontman jumped at the chance to join Rose after spending the second half of last season travelling to Forfar twice a week and, with a young family, was happy to forsake playing in the seniors for a second crack at Junior level.
“It was hard for me going into Forfar,” said Malone. “When I went in, they were top of the league and chasing the title and I never really got my chance to start with. Come the end of the season, I got my chance and I played quite a lot of minutes in the play-offs and we won that. It was probably a wee bit too late because I thought I could’ve made an impact and got us over the line for the title.
“They offered for me to go up and see them at the end of the season. They were wanting me to come in and train to prove my fitness, but it was too far for me to travel anyway. I wanted to finish the season in the senior ranks and one of my mates was up there so it was easy enough to take the option to go up there, but just with having a kid and getting back at half 11 at night, it wasn’t really for me. I’d be up there maybe two or three times a week on top of my full-time job and trying to run a house – it was just too much.”
Malone struck his first goal for his new club in last weekend’s 5-1 victory over Lochee United – his first competitive strike since he netted in Forfar’s 5-1 defeat of Peterhead in the League One play-off second leg in May.
Holding down a regular place in the starting line-up will be key for the striker, who hopes his move will be vindicated by the end of the season with his aim firmly set on bringing silverware to Prestonfield rather than yearning for a return to the lower leagues of the SPFL. “The main thing this season is just to get settled in and try to get as many trophies as we can,” he said ahead of tomorrow’s match at home to Forfar West End.
“I’m still trying to find my feet just now in terms of starting games. I’m working hard and trying to score more goals. I scored my first goal last weekend, so hopefully there is more to come.
“I’ll just see how this season goes, because I might find myself settling in here – it’s a great club and one of the best-run Junior clubs.
“It was a no-brainer for me when I got the opportunity to come to Linlithgow. As soon as I spoke to Braddo it made my mind up in terms of what they wanted to do and what they wanted out of this season. They are quite ambitious and I liked the sound of what they had to say. You need a manager to have a bit of faith in you and take a chance on you – you aren’t going to be perfect every game and hopefully Braddo can offer me that.”
Elsewhere in the Super League, league leaders Bonnyrigg Rose entertain Lochee at New Dundas Park as they aim to make it six shut-outs in a row, while join-top Penicuik Athletic travel to Hill of Beath. Bo’ness United seek just their second win of the season away to Kennoway Star Hearts, while Newtongrange Star and Broxburn Athletic are on the road at Jeanfield Swifts and Sauchie respectively.