Friday 24th June 2016

HE hasn’t just lived every football fan’s dream. He’s done it twice.

But Ryan Stevenson isn’t the type to let his heart rule his head.

The midfielder had two options this close season. Either stay with Ayr United, the team who he supported as a boy and had just won promotion with for a second time.

Or join Dumbarton. The team who, along with the Honest Men, are set to be the underdogs of this season’s Championship.

For both sides, and possibly others, every point will be a prisoner. Eighth place the main goal.

It may seem easier to aim for it with the club you grew up supporting. But Ryan had other elements to weigh up.

And Dumbarton won the race.

He said: “It was a difficult decision but when I spoke to the manager, and knowing the kind of gaffer he is and the standards he has, he sold it to me.

“It’s really all down to him that I’m here.

“I’m close to his brother and we’ve just kept in contact through that. But I’m not just here because of that.

“He’s done a good job at Stranraer and with Dumbarton last season. Outside the Scottish Premiership I’d say he’s the hottest young manager in Scotland.

“It was amazing to win promotion with Ayr. When you get promoted with the club you supported as a boy it’s a great feeling, but to do it twice was phenomenal.

“You can go through your career without having days like that at all.

“It’s good to see Ayr back in the league, where I think they should be, but I’m a Dumbarton player now and although it will be hard playing against them, I’ll certainly give it my best.”

Ryan is one of four new faces at Dumbarton so far this close season and, as a Scotland squad player, probably the marquee capture.

He’s been full-time all his career, but has been preparing to go part-time and feels that now is the right time.

He added: “I’ve nothing planned outside the game, but it was a decision I knew I would have to come to at some stage. Whether you’re 31 or 37, you’ve got to think about that decision.

“This was the right sort of change for me.  Now it’s about having a good pre-season and the rest will take care of itself.

“It’s going to be an exciting league with the teams in it. Every week it’s going to be the sort of games you want to play in.

“The first week of pre-season has been great and everybody has made me welcome. I’m looking forward to it.”

Andy Galloway

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