Ross Montgomery just can’t stop coming back to Penicuik Athletic and he’s desperate to make sure this campaign is a success by ending it with silverware.
The 31-year-old winger is flourishing under the guidance of manager Johnny Harvey with the Midlothian club riding high in the Super League and still firing on all fronts in every cup competition.
Montgomery, who is a heating engineer, reckons this is his TENTH spell at his hometown club where he began when he was 20 years old. Besides his wish of getting his hands on a trophy come the end of the season, he hopes to finally see out a full season with Harvey’s men, having previously found it difficult to combine part-time football with running his own business.
“I’m back for about the tenth time!” said Montgomery. “I’ve never actually left to go and join anybody. The problem I’ve always had is between October and March, work has always been heaving for me – it’s my busiest time of year. I’ve just struggled in the past and had wee fallouts with Craig Meikle [former Penicuik manager].
“Work has been quieter so I’ve been able to keep playing. The training is a wee bit later on a Tuesday so that helps and Johnny is a bit more understanding. It’s been good this year, so far so good.
“Folk have a wee joke about it. I think this is my tenth spell. I’ve been here since I was 20 and I’m 32 this year. I’m a one-club man and why would I train anywhere else when it’s right on my doorstep? Plus it’s a good club too, it’s well run and there’s been no need for me to go anywhere else.”
Montgomery was a key component of the side which secured their spot in the Super League for the first time in 2014 by virtue of winning the Premier League title. That’s been his only winner’s medal from his time at the club having missed out on their Fife and Lothians Cup triumph at the end of last season. He is eager to make up for that disappointment.
The Cuikie could leapfrog Bo’ness United – who are idle this weekend – into third place ahead of hosting Allan McGonigal’s side next week should they emerge with three points from their trip to Broxburn Athletic tomorrow. And, although catching leaders Kelty Hearts is beyond them, Montgomery believes a top-five finish – beating their best-ever placing of sixth – would be deemed a success for Harvey’s first season at the helm.
Montgomery continued: “I don’t think we’ll challenge in the league with Kelty running away with it, but I think we’ve got a massive chance in any of the cups –especially if you get the right draw. We’re not going to be scared of anybody. You need a bit of luck in the Scottish, but looking at the teams left there’s only four or five that you would say would be favourites against us – we would fancy ourselves against the rest. I’d love to win something with Penicuik, especially a cup. It would be massive for me after missing out last season.
“I think Johnny is a really good manager. He’s definitely the best I’ve played under. He’s a lot more thorough with the opposition and training is always superb. It’s always well organised and it helps having Keith [Wright] there as well. There’s a lot of things that are positive and he gets boys well up for games.
“We’ve definitely got a chance of doing something this year hopefully. I feel if we were to get top four, anything in the cups would be a bonus. We need to stay consistent. We aren’t going to win every game but, if we can plug away and win two or three games in a row, we’ll do well.”
Penicuik have taken many by surprise this season, especially given Harvey’s late arrival after Meikle quit at the start of pre-season. His acquisition of four players from former club Haddington Athletic raised a few eyebrows given their lack of top-flight experience, but Montgomery reckons his boss has been proved right given their current run of form.
He added: “A lot of players were signed up by the time he had come in, so I think he’s done well. The boys he brought in from Haddington are all good players and they have all fitted in really well.
“I think Johnny knew what he was signing. They’ve been good players for us, especially Forbesy [Andy Forbes] – he’s been terrific.”
Elsewhere, Newtongrange Star visit relegation rivals Jeanfield Swifts buoyed by a 4-1 East of Scotland Cup win at Camelon last week, while Linlithgow Rose are at Dundonald as they bid to push up the table.