Collins holds high hopes for bigger and better things

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FOOTBALL club AC Midlothian may have only entered the Edinburgh and District Sunday Amateur Fair Play First Division two years ago, yet their progression in such a shortperiod of time resembles a side destined for success.

The club are not in the running to land any end-of-season honours this year, however, their ability to develop individual talent is gathering momentum at a steady pace having recently seen several players poached by teams in the Juniors set-up and East of Scotland League.

Whilst expressing his disappointment at losing three or four players to bigger clubs, manager Bobby Collins was equally delighted for the players who have earned the right to move on to a greater platform.

“We just want the guys to progress as footballers and enjoy themselves,” Collins said. “It’s not great for the club to lose such talented players but it’s a big step up for them individually to move on to better things.

“We are a young side with an average age of only 22 so we just want to keep progressing every year and compete with the bigger sides in the league. We’ve got a really good bunch of lads in the team and they are well disciplined on the football park. We even have one player who travels up from Newcastle every week for training as well as matches.”

Originally known as Jewel and Esk United, a team made up with students, Collins and his players made a mutual decision to break away from the college institution and move into the Capital’s amateur football scene.

Admitting he was surprised by the college’s reluctance to assist with the manager and players’ desire to progress the club farther, Collins wasn’t willing to accept the knockback.

“We went to the college to see if they would help us move to an amateur stage but they never seemed very interested.

“We wanted to progress as a team so we decided to just go for it ourselves. We had a few fund-raisers to get things going but we had a squad of players already so that wasn’t really an issue. Things have really progressed since then, so it’s all going really well since we joined the amateur league and hopefully we will be challenging for promotion to the Premier Division next season.”

The club have been boosted farther by the recent sponsorship agreement with Bonnyrigg- based public house, the Calderwood. Both Collins and club secretary, Paul Butt, are extremely appreciative of the support received on behalf of the local business who have just purchased new training kits for the squad.

Collins said: “They spent £700 on our training jackets so we are really grateful for their support. They also provide food for us after our matches so it’s great to have somewhere we can socialise as a team.”