Heriot-Watt transformation delights cpatain Donnelly

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Heriot-Watt University captain Chris Donnelly believes this season’s set-up is the best at the club since his freshers year in 2008.

Apart from a season spent with Highland League outfit Formartine United, the Belfast-born striker is now in his eighth year with the current East of Scotland League table-toppers.

Watt have made a blistering start to this year’s league campaign and have taken 16 points from a possible 21. They are in Football Nation Qualifying Cup second-round action tomorrow when they visit Lowland League side Hawick Royal Albert.

“It’s probably been the most exciting since my first year in 2008 because back then it was ingrained in you that you’re winners,” 27-year-old Donnelly explained. “There was a great mentality and that’s what drew me so much to the club. But that’s come round again this season as I think that had been lost for a couple of years where it felt as if I was fighting a bit of a battle. The new guys have come in and are leading the sessions and demanding more.”

And a lot of that credit must go to manager Banji Koya who took over from Ian Little who left to join Livingston in the summer.

“I couldn’t rate him any higher as a coach,” he said. “Michael Renwick is the only other manager I’ve had whose not just known in the game but brings that excitement. For me it’s a massive difference if a coach has a desire and isn’t just there to fill their time or pick up their pay cheque.

“I think Banji would do the job for free if he could and that rubs off on all the players. He’s a manager you want to play for and knows the club inside out. It’s been really exciting with all the new facilities, coaching team and the new guys coming through. It’s always been a goal of mine to get Heriot-Watt into the Scottish Cup, you need to win the league to do that but I don’t think we’re quite there yet.”

Leith Athletic host Cumbernauld Colts in the third round of the South Region Challenge Cup while Ormiston travel to Eyemouth United on league duty. Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale are at Peebles Rovers.