Elgin City striker Shane Sutherland has spoken of his delight at being named the Ladbrokes League 2 Player of the Season – despite it coming to an unexpected end in March.
The 26-year-old striker had scored 24 goals for the Borough Briggs side in all competitions before rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament during a 1-1 draw with Forfar Athletic and may not play again until 2018.
But picking up his latest gong seems to have cheered Sutherland up somewhat.
Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes News, he said: “I’m absolutely delighted. Obviously I won the player of the season in the league, which is voted for by all of the players, and to win another award which comes from the sponsors and the media is tremendous, especially after my season was cut short by injury. It’s a good way to end the campaign.
“Every award I’ve picked up is a great honour. Especially the way my season ended, with injury, to pick up another award and take it into the summer gives me a lift.
“My injury is what it is. It’s still long-term and I’m probably looking at being out until early next year. But, believe me, I’m doing my rehab as hard as possible, and I’ll try and come back as soon as possible.”
While personal accolades are welcome, Sutherland insists they don’t make up for Elgin’s disappointing end to the campaign, which saw Jim Weir’s side narrowly miss out on a play-off spot.
He added: “As a club, we were bitterly disappointed in the way the year ended. At the start of the season, we’d have taken finishing in the play-offs, but with 13 games left we had a chance of winning the league. So, to not make the play-offs at all is a bit of a disaster really.
“At least having a player that’s won the player of the year shows the club was doing some things right. We just have to pick ourselves up and move on.”
And while his energy is focused on recovering from injury at the moment, Sutherland admits he still retains aspirations of playing at a higher level.
The forward concluded: “My ambitions will always remain the same: I’ll always want to play at the highest level. That’s just me and my opinion.
“I left Peterhead last summer to move back to Elgin because the travelling was a bit too much. If I get back as soon as possible and get myself fit and, touch wood, if nothing else comes of this injury, then I’ll always harbour the ambition to play at a higher level.
“Hopefully that’s with Elgin but if not, and the opportunity comes along to play for a club higher up, hopefully they’ll support that. Elgin have been really good with me through my injuries and I owe them a bit back.”
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