Ruaridh Donaldson has tipped his former Bonnyrigg Rose manager Robbie Horn to join him in making the step up to the senior game.
The left-back joined League Two Stenhousemuir last week after making a big impression in the Junior ranks over the past two seasons and he aims to join a clutch of players who have flourished after making the move.
Donaldson was plucked from Tayport by Horn in 2015 after playing university football and went on to establish himself as a key player at New Dundas Park as Rose made history in last season’s William Hill Scottish Cup – becoming the first Junior side to beat a Championship club in Dumbarton to set up a glamour tie with holders Hibs.
“It’s been a whirlwind. The last two years at Bonnyrigg were incredible,” said the 23-year-old. “I don’t think I could’ve expected them to go as well and to be as enjoyable as they were. When you’re enjoying your football you get better at it and I felt I started playing quite well in my second season, I felt myself getting a lot better.
“Had I continued to continue to take football less seriously, I might not have made the progression so certainly being at Bonnyrigg improved my professionalism. Playing against full-time professionals exposed me to that level but it also gave me the belief that I could play at that level. I felt I acquitted myself well against those opposition and it was a big source of confidence for me.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Robbie. My two years under him and Davie [Burrell, assistant manager] have made me such a better player and given me confidence. They took me under their wing. I’m very surprised that he hasn’t perhaps had the opportunity to manage a Senior club himself. Perhaps at a later stage that might come, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all because he was a brilliant gaffer and he certainly deserves the opportunity to try himself at that level.”
The opportunity to join Stenny was too tempting for Donaldson, who spent the final five weeks of last season on the sildelines with a broken collar bone. He was impressed by the ambition shown in discussions with manager Brown Ferguson as the club seek an immediate return to League One.
He added: “Once that I was aware that Senior teams were watching me and they were prepared to offer me a contract, my mind was made up at that point. Not that Bonnyrigg isn’t a brilliant club and doesn’t have ambition, it was just important for me to go and test myself. It was more of a decision of where I was going to go than if.
“When I first met Brown he said Stenny had never won a league and I think that is critical to what he’s trying to do this season – to go and win their first title as a football club. The positive outlook of the club was attractive for me.”