Thursday 3rd June 2021

CONNER DUTHIE entered the field for the last 12 minutes of Dumbarton’s game with Forfar Athletic uncertain of what the future held.

It was Saturday, March 20. The first time he had played football competitively in almost two years.

The 1-0 defeat Sons sustained that day had them looking down a very long barrel, but over the next two months, they rescued that situation.

And for Conner, the box of a successful return to football was ticked as well. After 14 games in such a short space of time, he’d done what he came in to help them do.

He also made a major contribution by scoring the late winner against Forfar in April.

It was why the attacking player, who can operate in midfield or upfront, had no hesitation in accepting the offer of another year at the club.

It will be under a different manager, with Stevie Farrell now in charge. But with the chance to make a fresh start now well and truly grabbed, Conner can’t wait to get back into it.

He’s even keeping himself fit over the close season – such as it is, with the first confirmed friendly now only a month away.

Speaking to www.dumbartonfootballclub.com, Conner said: “To be honest, I’m quite delighted by it.

“It’s just something my uncle has worked me through, speaking with Stevie Farrell, and I’m really pleased to be staying for another year. He’s somebody I want to work under.

“I thought my spell with the club last season went really well. Even though I just came in at the later end I played lots of games in such a short space of time.

“We all contributed in a positive way to keeping the team in League One, and now we’re ready to give it another go.

“I never saw the change of manager coming. With us staying up, I thought Jim Duffy maybe would have had the inclination to stay.

“I can’t thank him enough for giving me the chance to come in, but football is football. It’s a harsh world.

“We now have somebody who has come in, has worked for the club before and will do so again. I look forward to seeing what the next year holds.”

Celebrations with Robert Jones after Conner’s (number 15) late winner against Forfar in April. Copyright Andy Scott Photos 2021.

Family and friends have been a key part of Conner’s return to football, helping him with his future and his efforts to stay in shape.

He’s now looking forward to being part of a competitive League One next season and feels that Sons can be at the sharp end of it.

He added: “My uncle looks after me and has made a few phone calls, and did so when I first came back into football.

“I’ve got somebody else who’s been training me as well and has been a massive part of it all. Even in the off-season, I’m continuing to try and keep myself fit. You don’t want to go back a yard short.

“I think we can stay near enough the top end of the table. Obviously we have a new manager and new players, and we’ve lost a few good ones, but there will be a few good ones wanting to come in.

“I don’t see why we can’t stay in a strong position.”

Andy Galloway

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