Keith McLeod may be grabbing all the headlines as Spartans lead the Lowland League, but the prolific goalscorer is desperate to get the spotlight shone away from him as the Capital club bid for league and cup glory.
The 35-year-old striker has scored 19 goals already this season and his strike last weekend in the League Cup against Whitehill Welfare was his 11th in a row, meaning he is just four games away from matching the all-time record for scoring consecutive goals in Britain, held by Dundee United forward Finn Dossing.
Danish hitman Dossing scored in 15 matches in a row in season 1964/65 and McLeod will be eyeing another goal when Spartans travel to Rosewell tomorrow to face Whitehill Welfare again in League Cup Group B. If he does find the net, he will continue a streak that stretches back to the middle of October, when he netted in the club’s 2-1 victory over Gala Fairydean Rovers.
McLeod, however, is reluctant to bask in the praise, instead preferring to laud his team-mates. Reflecting on his run, the player who has now scored more than 260 goals for the Ainslie Park outfit said: “I’m conscious that this publicity is very individual and I am the total opposite of that. It’s a team game at the end of the day and we’ve got a really good squad of players. They’ve been a massive help as they are the guys that are putting the ball in the box and it’s very positive. Unfortunately being a goalscorer who has scored a few goals seems to attract the publicity, but it really should be spread out between everyone else.
“I’m maybe in a bit of a purple patch just now, but you don’t forget the times when you’re not scoring. I scored in the first two matches I started in at the beginning of the season, but then didn’t score for six matches. A lot of it is down to luck and having good team-mates around you. At the start of the season you’re always thinking about what you scored last year – which was 17, so that was obviously my target this time around.”
With a goal barrage to mull over, McLeod identifies his late winner against tomorrow’s opponents Whitehill in November’s South Challenge Cup tie as an effort that continues to stand out from the crowd – a feat he hopes to experience again.
“Scoring against Whitehill late on when I went around the goalkeeper, that has probably been the standout so far,” McLeod explained. “They are always big games against Whitehill and hard games. I celebrated with my dad, who was at the far side on the embankment. All the young lads were there and the players as well, so that’s probably been the most important one so far this season.
“The hat-trick against Vale of Leithen was a good one too – I tend to get a bit of stick from some of their players for being too old, so that was nice to put one over them!
“I want to keep going, but for me I would be just happy to score against Whitehill tomorrow. I’m not setting myself a target for successive matches, but this is new territory for me as I think I’ve maybe scored in about five or six consecutive matches in the past.”
With excitement beginning to build amongst the league leaders’ squad that McLeod is fast approaching a goalscoring milestone, he says there is some good banter aimed his way in the dressing-room.
“Apparently the British record is 15 games which was set by a Dundee United player in 1964 or 65, so the guys are reminding me about this,” McLeod said. “Even Donal (Henretty) was saying if he’s through on goal and he has an option of a cutback for me to equal or break the record, he says there will be no chance of him passing to me!”