Anton Dowds has paid tribute to former club Heriot-Watt University’s professionalism for preparing him for life as an SPFL League One player.
The 21-year-old graduate, who netted 50 goals in all competitions for the students last season, joined Darren Young’s new-look East Fife over the summer.
And although admitting he had reservations about making the step up from the East of Scotland League to Scottish football’s third tier, Dowds, who has scored three goals in seven appearances for the Fifers, was quick to laud the impact of former boss Banji Koya and his team-mates.
“I had four great years and loved my football at Heriot-Watt,” Dowds, pictured, said. “BJ (Banji Koya) gave me a chance to play and I loved his coaching. He is so meticulous in everything that he does and I have no doubts he will go on and coach at a higher level. The set-up at Heriot-Watt is so professional and I don’t know another club at that level that operates in such a way.
“I had a few options when last season came to an end but East Fife offered me a full pre-season, whereas the other clubs interested were just giving me a week here and there. I wanted enough time to win myself a contract.
“You just try and do the simple things right. The guys at East Fife have been very understanding and have taken into account I’ve just come up from the East of Scotland League. Every spare moment I have is focused around football.”
Dowds has made quite the impact at Bayview and says he is playing more than he’d envisaged.
“It’s going really well. We’ve signed a lot of good players this year and although we got beat last weekend, we’re creating a lot of chances so I know things will turn in our favour,” Dowds said.
“I was always felt I’d have to bide my time. I played about 50 games last year so I’d have to get used to suddenly not being the No.1 striker. But I think the Betfred Cup was a great opportunity as it gave me some game time and I’ve kind of kicked on since then.
“Up until I left school I was probably the smallest in my year so I did a lot of growing at Uni. It’s never too late to get your chance and when it does come along you’ve just got to grab it with both hands.”