Thursday 13th August 2015
STEVEN CRAIG has never experienced a longer 24 seconds than he did on Saturday, May 23 at Wembley.
He was set to celebrate promotion to England’s League One with Wycombe Wanderers who, leading 1-0, only had to see out the dying stages of extra time against Southend United.
Then Joe Pigott’s last-gasp equaliser for the Essex club forced a penalty shoot-out, which they won after eight penalties for each side.
Steven didn’t take any of Wycombe’s kicks, but the agony of Wycombe’s defeat was real and raw. However, he hopes that a move 400 miles north to Dumbarton can revive his fortunes.
Having spent most of his career in his native Scotland, he’s looking forward to life back there – having knocked back full-time offers to come to Sons.
He said: “When you are 24 seconds from promotion and end up missing out it’s a real sickener, especially when it happens at Wembley.
“I had the opportunity to stay down the road, but it didn’t suit me, so I returned to Scotland and I’ve got a great opportunity to play in the Championship.
“I had a good chat with the gaffer (Stevie Aitken) over the summer and liked what he had to say about the possibility of coming here.
“I had a few options, but with the players he brought to Dumbarton, that was my mind made up and I was happy to sign.
“The offers I had included full-time clubs, but with the standards the gaffer has set, it’s a full-time set-up here anyway.”
Steven headed south to Wycombe in 2013, having won the then Scottish First Division title two seasons in a row, with Ross County and then Partick Thistle.
His Sons debut also ended in a penalty shoot-out defeat, at East Fife in the League Cup, but he’s picked up where he left off in the league.
He made his first start for Dumbarton when they sensationally beat Hibernian 2-1 in Saturday’s Ladbrokes SPFL Championship opener.
Now the 34-year-old hopes his success at the second tier level can continue when Sons visit St Mirren this Saturday.
He added: “It was a great start to the season. We just needed a bit of belief after losing to East Fife on penalties in the League Cup and we reacted really well to that.
“We trained hard through the week and knew coming into the game that if we played at the top of our game we wouldn’t be far away.
“It was an excellent performance and it’s one down, 35 to go. We know that if we apply ourselves and keep a good team spirit then we’ll stand a chance.
“But we’ll need to work hard this week to prepare to face St Mirren, as that will be a tough game.”