Olivebank is definitely where the heart is for Jackie Myles after a nightmare knee injury threatened to end his time in football prematurely.
The Musselburgh Athletic midfielder thought his career was on the ascent after joining Linlithgow Rose in the summer of 2016 from Burgh. However, suffering a cruciate ligament injury in their final pre-season game before the real action got underway brought him crashing back down to earth.
Myles, 33, officially returned to Olivebank in January, although it was only in April that he finally felt comfortable and could play a full 90 minutes for Calvin Shand’s team.
“I felt I was maybe cut down in my prime,” said Myles, who played a key part in getting Musselburgh to the 2015 Scottish Junior Cup final. “I felt I had worked my way into getting into a team like Linlithgow, so when that happened without really getting a crack of the whip, I was obviously really disappointed I didn’t get the chance to prove myself.
“I had to get the operation and then I had to wait for that to settle down. Then I was in the gym two nights a week building up the muscles and getting all the structures ready to play again.
“I knew straight away when I started back training that I could gauge how ready I was. It wasn’t until about April that I actually felt confident going in and playing 90 minutes and feeling like I could really take part in the game, rather than just trying to get a bit of fitness.”
Shand’s men have carried over their excellent form from last season’s Premier League-winning campaign into their inaugural year as an East of Scotland club, winning ten of their opening 12 games.
One of their losses was to Conference A leaders Penicuik Athletic, who visit Olivebank tomorrow on league duty just two weeks after they had thrashed Burgh 4-0 in the Football National Qualifying Cup.
It was a result and performance in which the Musselburgh squad felt they had let their supporters down and, in turn, they clubbed together to hand ‘The 1934 Club’, their supporters group, £100 last weekend.
Myles continued: “The Penicuik game was a bad day at the office; the boys were pretty down after that because we knew we hadn’t given a true reflection of ourselves and we had let ourselves and the supporters down. The supporters travel with us everywhere that we go and they’ve been used to seeing us winning over the last wee while, so to get a doing like that was a bad day.
“We felt we had let the supporters down that day; they had obviously paid their fivers and I know that they sometimes hire a wee minibus to take them on their wee journeys and that will cost some of these boys a good bit of pocket money, so we thought we’d maybe just return the favour and put a fiver in, maybe that’ll pay for a their next bus trip or a wee day out in the pub.
“Matti [King, captain] being the Mussy diehard that he is, he’s quite well thought of by the supporters, and it was something he wanted to make sure happened.”
Penicuik boss Harvey, whose side have netted 21 goals in their past three games, is well aware their hosts will have a point to prove tomorrow.
He said: “I said at the start of this week to the players that it was a big week, having nine points up for grabs in the space of seven days. Musselburgh will be the final leg of the three games and it will be good going into that game on the back of six points.
“I’m expecting them to be better and it’s up to our boys to be better than we were the first time that we played them to try and get a result.
“They are one of the closest rivals we will have in the fight to try and win our conference, so these games are going to be really, really important. Ultimately it will be the head-to-heads with our main challengers that will paint the final picture of the league.
“I’m not interested if whether we win 5, 6 or 7-0; 1-0s do me as long as we get the points.”