Thursday 12th September 2019

WHEN Kyle Hutton was a young player, he had team-mates like David Weir, Kenny Miller and Lee McCulloch talking him through the game.

And not just in any game – amongst others, there was Rangers v Manchester United in the Champions League group stage.

The arena might not be the same, and neither is the Dumbarton midfielder’s position in the squad age-wise.

He was 19 when he lined up against the likes of Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs lined up against him at Ibrox in 2010.

Now he’s got to teach his younger colleagues how to mix it in Scottish League One. No choral anthems, no nights under the lights in front of 50,000 people.

Instead it’s blood and guts from first minute to last, regularly in front of crowds that are only one or two per cent of the one at that Champions League tie.

But that’s not something Kyle, now 28, feels daunted by. He’s filling the shoes that the likes of Miller and McCulloch filled for him.

And with Sons’ recent run of positive results, he feels that having him and Stuart Carswell as the two older heads in the outfield ranks is working.

Speaking to www.dumbartonfootballclub.com, Kyle said: “Obviously I need to try and help the boys, especially the younger ones.

“The gaffer spoke to me and Stuart and said that we would be going with quite a young squad, so it would be important for us to lead by example.

“We knew it might take a bit of time for them to find their feet, but it was important to be patient and kept encouraging them and bringing them through.

“I’m enjoying it – I’ve been telling them stuff and they’ve been taking it on board. It’s proving good experience for them and hopefully I can keep encouraging them. Their confidence is getting better and they’re implementing what they’re being told.

“It’s been really good in the last few weeks. In the very first game against Raith we felt as if we should have got at least a point, and then against Falkirk it was a combination of things that meant we were miles off it.

“After that I think we realised that the next few games were going to be against other part-time sides in the same situation as us.

“We just said to ourselves ‘Come on, this is when our season really starts; let’s show we are actually a good team.’ And it’s just gone as we wanted.

“Confidence is high, we’ve got Isaac Layne scoring goals which gives him a lot of confidence, and we’re really looking forward to the Airdrie game on Saturday.

“It’s just been a bit of self-belief that we’ve had since Ruaridh scored that goal. For a few of the boys, it’s their first year in professional football. It is a really young squad.

“We knew we were back in the game with that first goal at Peterhead. It just made us feel we were good enough to play at this level.

“Now the boys are just going out and expressing themselves. Maybe they were unsure at first, but with a bit of confidence installed in them it’s all coming together.”

Copyright Fullarton Photos 2019

When Dumbarton return to the pitch against Airdrieonians, it will be the end of 14 long days’ waiting since beating Montrose 2-1 for their third consecutive victory.

The Diamonds, in contrast, reached the last 16 of the Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup on Saturday as their match action continued.

But action on the training pitch at Benburb has been positive this week, and Kyle is optimistic that on Saturday, it will pay off.

If he plays, it will also be his 99th game for Sons and put him in position to play his 100th at East Fife next week.

He added: “We’ve been speaking about that [the break]. The break couldn’t have come at a worse time for us.

“But we’ve been kept ticking over and we trained really well on Tuesday – the boys still looked really sharp, and we’ll get another good session in on Thursday. We’re fully ready.

“I’ll be pleased to play my 100th game for Dumbarton. Stuart did it the other week and to play 100 games for any professional club is a great achievement. Hopefully I can keep kicking on and playing more.

“We now feel as if we could take on anybody. Last year we played Airdrie and it was always a tough, sticky game for us. It was four draws out of four and they were all really narrow games.

“We know it will be difficult and Calum Gallagher is there, along with other signings they have made, but confidence is high going into it and hopefully we can go out and play well and get the points.”

Andy Galloway

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