Striker Ross Campbell admitted that it’s critical that Montrose win the pyramid play-offs and retain their place in the Scottish Professional Football League.
But the former Forfar Athletic man said the club will not fold if they do drop into the Highland League, because the community presence behind the Gable Endies is too strong to let that happen.
We’ve not been good enough over the season, we deserve to be where we are and we won’t make any excuses about that.Ross Campbell
Montrose will make the long journey north tomorrow (Saturday) to face Brora Rangers in the first leg of the play-offs, before welcoming the Highland League champions to Links Park a week later.
Ross knows what’s at stake for the club going forward, saying that they will struggle to attract players in the league alongside suffering financial problems.
He told the Review: “It’s critical that the club stays up. I wouldn’t say it’s the fate of Montrose on the line, because I’ve met a lot of great people at the club in my time here, but dropping into the Highland League is a difficult proposition for any club.
“There’s a lot of money in that league, there’s a wide geographical span, and it will be difficult to attract players to that. Where traditionally Montrose can attract players from all over Scotland, it’s unlikely they’d do that in the Highland League with players from Dundee and below because of the distances involved.
“So from recruiting players, the financial element, the visibility element, it’s critical for the club that they’re retained in the leagues.”
Campbell believes Montrose only have themselves to blame for the predicament in which they find themselves after a disappointing campaign.
He continued: “It’s certainly not a game you want to be playing in. It wasn’t the hope when I joined the team in January.
“It was obviously a possibility but the meteoric rise of Elgin City and East Stirling, combined with our struggle, cut us adrift. There’s nothing we can do about those teams, it was up to us to look after our own destiny and we’ve not done that.
“We’ve not been good enough over the season, we deserve to be where we are and we won’t make any excuses about that. Our points total in other years may have held us in a different position, but these teams have had impressive runs and left us where we are.”
Ross added that Montrose will face a very tough opponent in the runaway Highland League winners.
He said: “They’ll be very strong opponents. They’re very experienced and committed. I was with East Fife earlier in the year when they went up to Brora, and while I didn’t get on I was reasonably impressed with them and how competitive they were.
“They will be a really, really tough opponent and we’re well aware of that. We’re fully expecting a tough match from a strong club.
“You only have to look at their results, they got past a very strong Edinburgh City who dominated their own league, to know how good they are.”