Neil Janczyk hopes decision to choose Whitehill Welfare over Newtongrange Star is vindicated by survival

Former Hearts player happy to aid bid for safety

Friday, 10th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 10th January 2020, 9:02 am
Neil Janczyk, left, played under Craig Meikle at Penicuik Athletic

Neil Janczyk hopes his last-minute decision to sign for Whitehill Welfare instead of Newtongrange Star is vindicated by staying up ahead of their Midlothian rivals.

The Rosewell outfit, currently bottom of the table, boosted their hopes of survival in the East of Scotland Premier Division with a 1-0 win at Newtongrange last weekend, bringing them to within two points of their fellow relegation battlers with four games in hand.

That result arrived on the back of 2-2 Midlothian derby draw at Penicuik Athletic, and former Hearts man Janczyk believes it points to a turn in fortunes for Craig Meikle’s men as he reckons the green shoots can continue to sprout.

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“It was two big results for us that we really needed. It was always going to be difficult at the start as we only kept four first-team players from last season and two young boys, so it was really a whole new team. I’d probably say the last five to six weeks we have noticed a difference with the boys starting to gel together and we are starting to find formations which are working for us, we definitely have picked up.

“There’s not been many games when we’ve been hammered, most games have been by the odd goal when we’ve been beaten. We have started to be a bit more solid defensively, we just need to score a bit more. Loughty [Keith Lough] is still finding his feet as he’s had a few niggling injuries so once we get him and Ryan McCallum fully fit they’ll hopefully start banging in the goals.

“We’ve never really had a settled team, I don’t think we’ve played the same team two games in a row. Once we get the squad together we will kick on and pick up results; we are very confident that we will stay up and end up finishing mid-table, but it’s alright saying that, we’ve got to go and do it.

“We’ve got plenty games in hand but we need to win those games in hand. Winning at the weekend was massive, it gets us closer and makes it tight at the bottom. We just need to kick on now, and get a bit of momentum behind us.”

Janczyk was on the verge of signing for neighbours Newtongrange in the summer but made a u-turn at the final hour when Meikle took the reins at Ferguson Park.

He added: “I was at Penicuik for a good few years under Craig and really enjoyed it. I was signing for Newtongrange under Darren Smith and Raff [Kenny Rafferty] – it was pretty much done. They had signed me for Dalkeith because I’m good pals with Daz and I really enjoyed working under them. Craig got the job last minute at Whitehill and asked me to go there as player-assistant, and we had always kept in touch, we play golf most weeks together. He was desperate to get me in and it seemed a good thing.”