Musselburgh record-maker Matti King wants title in the bag

Musselburgh Athletic's record appearance holder, Matti King, has urged his team-mates to go out and seize the opportunity of winning the Premier League title on their own accord.

Friday, 11th May 2018, 6:30 am
Updated Friday, 11th May 2018, 12:20 pm
Matti King
Matti King

Such is the greater goal difference between league leaders Burgh and second place Fauldhouse United that Calvin Shand’s men could probably afford to lose their final four games and still end up as champions.

However, after Fauldhouse were held to a 3-3 draw at home to Haddington Athletic on Wednesday night, the Olivebank men know they can secure the second-tier title with just a point – and they are aiming to wrap up the league crown as quickly as possible at home to Dalkeith Thistle tomorrow, and then go on to pastures new as they join the East of Scotland League.

Striker King, who overtook Johnny Combies as the club’s top appearance holder last weekend, is on the cusp of completing a double with the club having lifted the Premier League title in his first spell at Olivebank in season 2008-09.

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“It’s been a good week,” said the 34-year-old. “It wasn’t something I was aiming for when I first started here, but it’s good to have. I’ve had a lot of well-wishes so it’s been really good.

“We’ve done really well this season. We didn’t want to be in this league in the first place, we felt we were good enough to stay in the Super League. We’ve done what we’ve set out to do, which was firstly promotion, and now we are there we want to go on and win the league.

“There is all this talk of East of Scotland but we’ve still not been told anything officially from the club. If it happens it’s a title win, but it’s not a promotion back to where we were.”

King revealed the disappointment of being relegated from the Super League last season had galvanised the whole squad to bounce back in style. “We just needed what I think was one point to stay up last season, but we just couldn’t get over the line. Hopefully it’s not going to be the same this time – we’ve got four games left and all we need is a point. We’re fairly confident that it will be done and dusted; hopefully on Saturday.

“At the end of last season we all said that we had a point to prove, that we shouldn’t be in this league in the first place. We wanted to show that we were too good for this league.”

Tomorrow’s match will be Dalkeith boss Kevin Haynes’ penultimate game in charge of the club after he expressed his wish to resign at the end of the season, citing a lack of player commitment.

“I felt I was just wasting my time,” said Haynes. “Players have just been letting me down left, right and centre, and enough was enough.

“Training has not been so bad, it’s been games. When I played football, football came first; you worked your social life around football, but now it is the opposite. People can get to football if they don’t have anything else on. It’s just become too much for me, I don’t know how people manage to stay as a manager for 20 years or whatever working at this level, and I just found it difficult.

“There’s been times this season where we’ve won games and we’ve been looking to get the same team out but you’ve got four people missing because of a stag do or a musical festival or their budgie has died. It becomes infuriating.

“I decided to resign and they asked me to stay on until the end of the season. I was committed to do the full season at the beginning of the season so I wouldn’t want to leave the club in the lurch. It’s a good club, with some good people in it.

“I was saying to the wife that this is my 30th consecutive season in football and it’s going to be weird in a couple of weeks when I’ve not got it.”