34-year-old Montrose defender Sean Dillon is preparing for Saturday’s match with Elgin City as if it is just a regular match. With the Mo able to be crowned champions of League Two if they can win or draw the match, it gives this match some added spice. However, the former Dundee United defender told jodanburtfootball.com that the players are only focused on picking up another 3 points.
Dillon went part-time in the summer after leaving Tannadice.
“I was hoping to stay full-time initially, but, that didn’t happen, unfortunately. There were a lack of options, locally; I didn’t want to travel as I am not keen on uprooting my family or myself. The only full-time offers I had were from down south and I wasn’t keen on moving the kids or anything like that as we are quite settled here.
I spoke to a couple of clubs about going part-time and my gut feeling told me to go with Montrose, and that is what I done. I was excited about it: I wouldn’t say I was daunted or anything like that as I played part-time football when I was in Ireland so I had a good idea of what to expect. I am still learning – I am always learning. My body is changing a little bit as I get a little bit older, so I need to adapt or adjust certain things and my approach to certain things. It is always the same when you move to a new club, you have nerves about you as you want to fit in and want to do well, I have really enjoyed it.”
Dillon is a player/coach with the Links Park side, a role he is thriving in under the guidance of Stewart Petrie.
“The actual, physical, coaching is limited at the moment because we are part-time. We only train twice a week, on a Tuesday and a Thursday evening, and I need to train myself to keep my fitness levels up. So, that has been a little bit different. However, I am on the staff as First-Team Coach, which is great as it keeps me involved: I help out with the decision-making and that is excellent. It is all down to the manager, he has been brilliant with me; he is always happy to hear my opinion on team-selection and things like that. I have really enjoyed learning that side of the game and working under him.
The manager deserves all the plaudits and the credit he is getting. If you look at where the club were at when he took over, to where we are now, he has had a massive influence in the club and team turning things around. I am sure he would be the first one to say, it isn’t all down to him. The people at the club are great – people who have been there for many, many, years and have worked tirelessly for their love of Montrose. They also deserve huge amounts of credit. Realistically, the only person you meet is the manager when you are considering signing for a team. My decision was based on the fact I had met the manager – that isn’t to say I didn’t like the other managers I spoke with – but, my gut feeling was Montrose were the club for me and, in my opinion, I have made the right decision.”
So, was promotion always the remit this campaign?
“You would like to have targets, but, you also don’t want to get too far ahead of yourselves, in regards to what you are looking for. We definitely wanted to be in and around it when it came to promotion and stuff, that was always a target. I’m not sure losing our first three BetFred Cup matches was the start we would have wanted to happen, but, it did happen – we came up against a couple of very, very, good side. Pre-Season is not an easy time for part-time sides, that is something that I learned. A lot of your pre-season games are actually competitive matches; we don’t have the squads to deal with that, unfortunately. They were really tough games, but, we knew we wouldn’t be up against clubs like Hibs and Ross County – without being disrespectful – in League Two this season.
I think [our position in the league] is down to a number of things: when you have a bad result, you want to get back to winning ways straight away…you need to be winning matches consistently though, as well. If you are losing every 3 or 4 games then you won’t be in a position to be challenging for the league. More times than not, we have reacted well to losing games or even drawing games. We have had an element of luck here and there, throughout the season. We are now just looking for one last bit of luck as well, I suppose.”
Montrose sit 3 points ahead of Peterhead as the final kick-off of the league campaigns nears ever closer.
“Without sounding too clichéd, you are just going into and preparing for one game at a time. Yep, we try and do a certain amount of planning, so, you look at each quarter and you are eyeing things up as you always want to better you total from the previous 9 matches. That is important, but, our main concern has only been how we play; I am sure the same will be said by Peterhead – they have looked after themselves and made sure that they’ve won their own games.
“It is a normal game….we know it isn’t a normal game, because it is a chance for us to win the league, but, it is a normal game because we just need to prepare and approach the match as we would any other. That is why we are in the position we are in right now, because we have went into each match the same way. We only focus on ourselves, playing our own game and giving 100%. We know it isn’t going to be easy against Elgin as we have had hard matches against them all season. They are a really good side with some great players and it is a match they will want to do well in. Like any other player, regardless of if they have play-offs to battle for or whatever, but, they will still be playing for pride as any other professional would. You always want to play well in every match you play, so, I have no doubts over the challenge we have ahead of us.”
A point for the Gable Endies would secure promotion to League One for the Angus club.
“The attitude from us is that we have to go and play the game we have been playing. Again, it is clichéd I know, but, we just have to approach each game one at a time: at no point throughout the season have we went out looking for a draw. We are just like every other team – we go into every match looking for 3 points and believing we can win the game. Like I said, we don’t want to change anything now, going into this match.
[Winning the title with Montrose] would be huge. It has been a fantastic time, I have really enjoyed being a part of the club so far. I don’t really think about where certain achievements rank in my career, to be honest. Maybe after I have finished playing and I hang up my boots, I may then look back and decide what was more enjoyable or what meant more, but, at the moment, the only thing I am concentrating on is playing as well as I can and helping the team as much as I can in our game on Saturday.”