Ryan Porteous on life at Newtongrange and playing with his boss
Chris King's side were relegated from the Premier Division last year as they finished third from bottom. The scrap for survival was a gruelling one for Star and took its toll on their young squad, but they are revitalised as they seek an immediate return to the top flight.
Porteous, in his sixth season with the club, says it's the best dressing-room he's been a part of with Star a point of third spot.
"With the players we have just now, the squad has never looked better in the time that I have been there," said Porteous, ahead of hosting Stoneyburn in the third round of the South Challenge Cup on Saturday.
"We were sort of fighting for our lives every week last season, but there is a completely different atmosphere about the club this year. Because we have a young team and we aren't playing with the pressure of having to win every week to try and survive at the bottom end of the table, everyone is playing with a bit more freedom this year.
"Last year we were a bit naive and we lacked a bit of experience, because it's a really young team, the average age is about 23. We've had a lot of boys come up from the 20s this year.
"I've got no doubt when we do go back up that we will give a better account of ourselves, we have a lot of good young players coming through, there is a lot of talented players."
Recent signing Sean Guiney, owner of Vital Electrical, is Porteous boss by day, but Star’s vice-captain says he’s in charge when it comes to football.
“He's the boss of me when I am at work and then I boss him about at football, so it's a nice change. There is not many people I could spend all day working with and then spend more time with at training, so that speaks volumes about the kind of person he is.
“He's played three games and he's had two games, so he must be doing alright. His experience is good for the squad.”