GAME ON: Experienced head Watson thinks Mo could have tools for play-off push

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At the tail end of last season, there was a very real threat that one of the four Angus clubs could be close to disappearing from the SPFL.

Montrose were just a few minutes away from losing the Pyramid Play-Off Final to Brora Rangers before Marvin Andrews popped up with a typical headed goal.

Skipper Garry Wood then scored a sensational strike, the type of act that was needed to keep the Gable Endies in the fourth tier of Scottish football.

From the final whistle it has been a case, for Montrose officials, to ensure they are never put into that position again.

Manager Paul Hegarty has been working hard on building a team for this year’s campaign after losing several players, including the aforementioned heroes from that day of destiny.

The boss admitted on a number of occasions that it was proving tough to bring in players but alas, he has managed to pull together what looks like a promising, energetic young squad.

The exciting Ryan Ferguson has signed up, as have loanees Matty Allan and Jordan Miller, while Dale Reid and Jordan Reoch have made the step up from Montrose Roselea in the Juniors.

Joining the youngsters is experienced striker Gary Fraser, also from the Junior leagues.

These new recruits have all given excellent accounts of themselves in Montrose’s two cup defeats to Forfar Athletic and Hibernian.

Alongside them has been the likes of Paul Watson, Terry Masson, Ross Campbell and Scott Johnston - experienced Links Park favourites.

Watson believes the new players have fit in very well so far, and that the squad - while still needing a couple of additions - has a very good balance in advance of the League Two opener against Berwick Rangers this weekend.

“We’ve got guys in the squad who were playing junior football two months ago and then we asked them to go and play at Easter Road and play a team who were a whisker away from being in the Championship,” says Paul. “We’ve got to take those positives on to when the league stuff starts against Berwick on Saturday.

“You need the experienced guys to guide the youngsters. You can always get away with a squad mixed with experienced heads and young guys.

“The likes of Matty Allan, he’s used to playing in the Development League for Dundee and it’s a different pace when you come up to the senior leagues. But he’s looked really good in the two games and he’ll be a good signing for us.

“It’s all about getting the right mix. I still think we’re maybe a few short of the club being complete. Hopefully we’ll add a few more shortly.

“But it’s a good mix and there’s a good spirit for us only being together for such a short period.

“They all looked comfortable against Forfar and Hibs and that’s all credit to them, especially the two boys who have come in from Montrose Roselea, Dale Reid and Jordan Reoch.

“Gary Fraser has played at a good level before, he’s got good ability but he’s been playing in the Juniors. Coming back and making that step up is never easy but he was excellent against Forfar.

“Young Dale up front found his feet and did very well, as did Jordan at centre half. It was encouraging to see that because it’s never easy to make the step up. They just need to get experience with every game they play and they will.

“Everyone knows how hard the manager has been working on recruiting players for us and it’s not easy. The backroom staff will still be working away on that. The squad we’ve got right now, the first two performances have been encouraging but the biggest challenge is turning them into results.

“I would rather play terribly every week and win than play well and not get the result. That’s what’s key and not just for staying in the league, we want to be getting ourselves up the league and being able to push on towards the play-off spots if we can.

“Ultimately it’s one result at a time. We’ve got a good squad and hopefully with one or two more additions we won’t be far away from that.”

Montrose begin their campaign away to Berwick Rangers; they follow that up with a home derby against Arbroath before welcoming title favourites Clyde.

If they play like they did vs Forfar, they needn’t be concerned.