25-year-old Josh Morris has signed for local side Cowdenbeath after the Fifer decided to leave Lowland League side Hawick Royal Albert.
The striker, who started off his career at Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts, originally played senior football at Berwick, with varying levels of success.
“I felt like everything was going in my favour; the manager at the time, Ian Little, really rated me and supported me, which was a great help. He ended up losing his job and everything seemed to flip on it’s head at that time,” says Morris, who scored his first senior goal in 2013 against Livingston in the League Cup. “I was put on for the last 15 minutes of normal time, but I ended up getting a lot more time than I expected as it went to extra time. My goal, though, I’d describe it as a typical ‘Me Goal’…a tap-in!”
Despite playing 30 matches for Berwick in season 2013/14, Morris left Shielfield Park and joined Lowland League club, Vale Of Leithen.
“I felt a bit disillusioned, to be honest. I was at that age where I wasn’t getting as much game time as I had hoped – those 30 appearances are all mainly as a substitute for the last five or ten minutes of games, but, I am not that type of player – I need to be starting games and playing regularly. I went down a level to try build up my confidence. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there [at Vale Of Leithen]; I was playing every week, scoring goals…but I had to take some time out of football due to my work commitments – at this point, I fell out of love with the game and I had to take some time away from it to realise how much I actually wanted to play.”
Morris, who works at the SKY Academy in Dunfermline as a Team Leader, then moved onto Kelty Hearts but quickly made the move to join Hawick Royal Albert.
“It was quite a rash decision [to join Kelty], to be honest. It was something I didn’t really think about: my work still hadn’t really settled down commitment wise and I had went back to college too to do a night class, as well as working. Everything got a bit much for me at that point. However, I knew the manager at Hawick,” explains Morris, “who offered me the chance to come in and play but only when I was available. If I wasn’t available, he told me not to worry about it. Everything settled down near the end of that season and we won promotion to the Lowland League, also. I decided to commit to them for another year, as a mark of respect as they looked after me, and I certainly feel I had a good enough season this year to show for it.”
Morris scored an incredible 34 goals this season – the most notable of those goals were the three he scored against his former club, Berwick, to knock them out of the Scottish Cup.
“I feel my good form was down to consistency. I had managers and coaches, as well as the club, believe in me and back me all the way – obviously, I travelled a little bit to get to games but they looked after me really well and made me feel very welcome. I remember being very, very, nervous about it [the Scottish Cup game vs Berwick]. Deep down, I wanted to score. As I said at the time, I couldn’t have dreamt how it actually panned out, with me scoring a hat-trick and us winning the tie. I think it showed to me that I had improved and came onto a game. I actually had an opportunity to go back to Berwick, for this season, at one point but my heart was set on Cowdenbeath.”
At the end of a terrific season, Morris was inundated with offers from SPFL sides, but it was Gary Locke’s Blue Brazil that was the chosen option.
“If I’m being honest, I knew if I had a good season or two with Hawick, that I could make that jump [back up to the SPFL] quite easily. I feel quite confident in my ability – I think I have matured quite a bit over the last couple of years, as a player. I’ve always wanted to test myself – I wasn’t niave… I knew the opportunity might not come up, so if it hadn’t arisen, I wouldn’t have been too disappointed. I was in quite a fortunate position that I had a few different options: it was quite a nice boost to have. As soon as I knew Cowdenbeath were interested, I had a gut-feeling that it was the right move for me. Staying in Dunfermline, and having lived in Fife from a young age, this is a move that I’ve always said, if it was to come up, I would jump at. After speaking to the manager, it became a no-brainer.”
With Cowdenbeath being drawn up against Dundee United, Dundee and Raith Rovers in their BetFred Cup group, it is an exciting start to life at Central Park for Morris.
“I looked at the draw last week. It is an attractive proposition, playing clubs like that – if you look at Dundee United, they are in the Championship but they are a Premiership club. I’m personally relishing the opportunity to go to Tannadice and testing myself against opposition as good as that. The fact that you are playing such competitive games, before the league season actually starts, can only benefit everyone involved.”
Morris is hoping for a successful season on the park as he gears up for his return to the SPFL.
“I think in a difficult league such as League Two, I just hope to score goals for Cowdenbeath and do well. If I can do that, then hopefully, that would take us up the league as high as we possibly can; whether that is play-offs or higher – but we are just looking to push on and hopefully gain promotion.”