After nearly dropping out of the Ladbrokes SPFL last season, Montrose’s start to the current campaign has been something to savour at Links Park. So much so, that manager Paul Hegarty has been named Manager of the Month for October.
Leading his side to victories against Queen’s Park and Berwick Rangers, the 61-year-old has seen the team he took over in February make a charge for the promotion spots this term. And for Hegarty, it’s all down to sheer hard work:
“This is a league where there is very little between the sides and you simply have to get your sleeves rolled up and get on with things in every game. It is nice to be recognised for last month however I am sure that the Ladbrokes Award represents a bigger turnaround at Montrose,” he told Ladbrokes.
“Things were not great here last season but in the majority of cases that is how out of work football managers get a job. When my assistant, John Holt, and I came in last March we knew that it would be difficult to get the points to take Montrose off bottom spot.
“We knew that we were heading for the play-offs so we looked to get some confidence in the camp by getting a few wins. That set us up nicely for the play-offs against Brora where thankfully we won through.”
The close season was a period of transition at Links Park with no fewer than six players departing and plenty of new arrivals to bed in at the Angus club. And for Hegarty, his new squad have delivered with aplomb.
“This season we brought in players we felt could do a good job on and off the pitch. We wanted a really strong team spirit and six wins so far shows that we achieved a bit of success,” he addded.
“The challenge is to now keep that going and whilst November has not started too well we have a platform to build on. The players have been honest and hardworking both in training and games.
“They know that they let themselves down against Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale in the Scottish Cup. They will learn from it as they are a good bunch to work with.”
The former Forfar, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Livingston manager got a stark reminder of the cruel nature of management when his side defeated Berwick at Links Park and the Borderers player/manager Colin Cameron was dismissed at the ground afterwards.
Hegarty said: “The strange thing is that if Berwick had beaten us they would have gone second and we would have been sixth so football can be a strange business.”
“We look to be having a much better season however nothing has been decided yet and I will say what success is come April.”
Despite their excellent start to the season, Montrose remain 25/1 shots to top Ladbrokes League 2 come the end of the campaign, something that Gable Endies fans would barely of given a thought to six months ago.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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