In-form Montrose striker Johnston reaping the benefits of hard work

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Montrose boss Stewart Petrie lavished praise on striker Craig Johnston who picked up the Ladbrokes League Two Player of the Month award for October.

The 22-year-old took a while to get off the mark for his new club after signing from Cowdenbeath in the summer, but has notched five goals in his last four games – including the clincher against his former club at the weekend.

Boss Petrie believes it is no less than the player deserves after putting in the hard graft at training.

He said: “It is fantastic for him the award is thoroughly deserved. He has worked really hard on his game, in the gym and also on the training pitch. He has started scoring goals and his confidence has soared.

“That’s what he and a few of the players needed, a bit of confidence and a run in the team.

“He is similar to Liam Callaghan who we brought in from Arbroath.

“We try to do as much as we can with the players, work on their finishing and other aspects of the game but also tactically too.

“One of the main reasons that we brought Craig to the club was that he harries defenders, his pace also takes us up the park and that is a big part of this game.”

Asked if former striker Petrie saw enough in Johnston to play at a higher level, he said: “It’s very early days, he could go three or four games without scoring a goal and someone else might come in.

“If he can score goals over a three or four-month period then perhaps you can start talking about that but at the minute he is enjoying his football.”

Johnston has cited boss Petrie as a major influence because he was a striker in his playing days with Dunfermline.

He said: “When the gaffer got in touch with me it was an easy decision. With him being a striker, he said he would help me with my game and it was exactly what I needed.

“Since I have been there he has been really good and he’s definitely developing me as a player.

“It’s been really good for me. It’s done a lot for my confidence.

“I had been with Cowdenbeath for six years and I felt it was time for me to get out there and push myself elsewhere.”

The victory over the Blue Brazil stretched the Gable Endies winning run to four games, maintaining the pressure on league leaders Stirling Albion, whom they trail by two points in second.

Up next for Petrie’s men is Annan Athletic.

He said: “It will be another difficult game, they have some very good players.”

Montrose will be without Michael Bolochoweckyj, Danny Cavanagh and Ryan Ferguson.