East of Scotland: Chris Donnelly is first Heriot-Watt centurian

Chris Donnelly started playing for Heriot-Watt in 2009
Chris Donnelly started playing for Heriot-Watt in 2009
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Heriot-Watt University striker Chris Donnelly had double reason to celebrate last weekend.

Not only did his brace in the 8-1 thumping of Tweedmouth Rangers help send the students top of the East of Scotland League, the 27-year-old also became the first player to hit a century of goals for the 
Riccarton-based outfit.

The Northern Irishman, who also captains the side, is in the form of his life having netted 18 goals so far this term for Banji Koya’s men, with strike partner Anton Dowds just behind the club’s talisman on 14.

But, for Donnelly, who first arrived in the Capital almost nine years ago, becoming the first player to reach such a milestone is his career highlight.

“As far as records go, I’m the first player to reach 100 goals for the club so it’s a great achievement on a personal level,” the striker said. “The fact I managed to do it at Riccarton on Saturday makes it all the more sweeter.

“I didn’t actually know I’d reached 100 until after the game. I knew I was close but it was great to finally be given the news. I started playing for the football team in my first year in 2009. I still remember scoring my first goal for the club that year at Meadowbank when we defeated Edinburgh City 5-1 but that feels like a long time ago now.

“It bodes well for the club that Anton is also doing really well in front of goal as he is the future of the club. The gaffer was also our main striker when I was just starting out!”

Donnelly says Watt will continue to apply pressure on champions Leith Athletic and Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale and will be waiting to pounce should the big two slip up.

“Going top of the league on Saturday feels really good so we’ll enjoy it,” he said. “It’s great to be there at this stage of the season but we know the other teams around us have games in hand. It’s all part of the development process at the club. We’ve been playing really well lately so we just have to focus on what we do. The whole squad has really gelled and it’s showing in our results.”

Elsewhere, Leith remain a point adrift of Watt having defeated Coldstream 4-0. They do, though, have four games in hand.