Wednesday 9th May 2018

THERE have been three managers, and enough players to make up several teams, at Dumbarton since August 2012.

Most of those people have, on average, two or three seasons to their name, helping the club to silence the doubters year after year.

But only one such person has done the full lot.

Jamie Ewings was substitute goalkeeper the day Sons began life back in the second tier, at Airdrie on the opening day of the 2012/13 league season.

He’s had to occupy that place a number of times over the last six campaigns, but has got on to the pitch for several big games.

The 4-1 win over Hamilton, who could have won the title, in April 2014. Beating Hibernian 3-2 in February 2016, three months before they won the Scottish Cup. Rangers at Ibrox two months later on the night the Gers won the league, but everybody was talking about the Dumbarton goalie.

That goalie was Jamie, as it was in those other two games and many more highlights of the last six years.

And even if he is substitute goalkeeper again tonight, in the first leg of the play-off final at Alloa, he hopes that the journey doesn’t end here.

He’s been on the roller coaster from the start. He’s desperate to show that it hasn’t reached the end.

Speaking to www.dumbartonfootballclub.com, Jamie said: “It would be massive to stay up again.

“To be in amongst it the way we’ve competed over the last six seasons, I’m proud to say I’ve been part of it all. I’m proud that I’ve been here the whole hog.

“I just hope this week’s games won’t be the moments that finish it. Here’s hoping we can get the results.

“I’ve been here a long time, going back to when we originally go into the league, and obviously we’re looking for the same outcome as we’ve had the last five years – to stay in it.

“They’ll be tough games against Alloa and tonight, we need to make sure we’re in a good position for the second leg on Sunday.

“This year, putting the cup run aside, it’s not been the greatest tally points-wise that we’ve got together. We the high of reaching the Irn Bru Cup final – although we lost it the way we did, it was still special.

“We’d played well at the start and then lost our momentum at Christmas. We keep harking back to the Livingston game in December when we’d just beaten St Mirren, and then that game was postponed. We then lost our next game (at Inverness CT) and that was our downfall.

“If you want to stay in the league you need to aim for more points on the board. You look for about 40 points, although as it turned out, 40 wouldn’t have been enough this year.

“What really killed us was not beating the teams around us. We beat Dundee United, we beat St Mirren, but if we’d taken more points from the likes of Falkirk and Inverness CT, we’d have been closer to them.

“Of course we are glad, though, not to have been in Brechin’s shoes. It can be hard at times, but it can be even harder when you’re not picking up points or winning a game. I think they’d be the first to admit that winning promotion was a bonus for them at the end of last season.

“If you look back at other seasons, like the one where we narrowly missed out on the play-offs at the top (season 13/14), as a part-time club, it was incredible.

“Every year we hear about the Championship and how Dumbarton will get relegated, or finish bottom or second bottom, and we’ve rubbed it in people’s faces. It would be great to get another opportunity to do that.”

Tonight will actually see several players who have played for Dumbarton in the Championship now bidding to stop them staying there.

Andy Graham, Jordan Kirkpatrick, Garry Fleming, Kevin Cawley and Scott Taggart could all be in opposition, in Alloa shirts, hoping to replace Sons in the second tier.

Jamie, though, knows that friendships need to be put to one side ahead of this week’s double header.

And that after Sunday, the current squad will be broken up. The second leg will be the last time this group of players plays together, with the squad building process set to begin after the game.

Jamie added: “It’s just one of those things that there are so many ex-players in opposition tonight. That’s what football is like – people move on; you just go wherever you go and look after yourself.

“I’ll wish those players all the best after Sunday – but not before.

“We have a job to do over the next two games to ensure we stay in the division and friendships go to one side. If you speak to any of those lads, they’ll tell you the same. Everybody has to be professional about it.

“It’s the hard side of football when players are released, but it’s part of the game. I’ve been in it a long time now and I know what to expect.

“It’s not nice for people around the club – not just the players, but supporters and officials as well.

“But hopefully come Sunday evening we’ll have something to celebrate. It would be fantastic for everybody.”

Andy Galloway

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