Wednesday 11th January 2017

MARK DOCHERTY isn’t surprised that a Dumbarton player has been named the best in the Championship for December.

He’s just delighted that it’s him.

The midfielder, named today as the Championship’s final player of the month for 2016, always felt that the prize would go to a Sons player following an excellent series of league results.

Ten points taken from a possible 15 in December – including victory over Dundee United courtesy of Mark’s goal – made them one of the best-performing sides in the division.

It’s the first time he’s ever won a league player of the month award. Considering the company he’s got in the Championship, it’s not a bad time to win it.

And his accolade was part of a double success at Dumbarton, with Stevie Aitken named manager of the month.

Mark said: “We found out at the weekend that we had won the awards. I only told my wife about it, so I’m glad that it’s out there now.

“It’s the first time I’ve won a player of the month award for an entire division. I’ve been player of the month before at an individual club, but never won it for any league.

“To win it in the Championship, as a part-time player in a mainly full-time league, is very pleasing for me on a personal note.

“Generally, the players who win these awards are strikers and goalscorers, so to win it as a defensive midfielder is another achievement.

“But it’s not only about myself. I’ve got to thank my team-mates as there are 10 other players out there on a matchday.

“We’ve put in a hell of a shift over the last few weeks and I think it was always going to be somebody from Dumbarton who would win it after such a great run.”

There was just one blip in December. A certain Scottish Cup replay.

Five weeks ago, Bonnyrigg Rose’s win ensured that Dumbarton will wince at the very mention of their name for some time.

But sometimes it’s about how you respond to the hard times. And Sons have done that.

Despite losing at Morton on Saturday – a venue where no away team has won this season – Mark and his team-mates are targeting league leaders Hibs this weekend.

And after a battling performance at Cappielow which didn’t get its just reward, he insisted Sons will go for it.

He continued: “The Bonnyrigg game was difficult for everybody, but the players have taken responsibility for it and we’ve put it behind us.

“We’ve managed to kick on and pick up some important results, beating Queen of the South, Falkirk and Dundee United and getting a point at Ayr.

“We had a disappointing result on Saturday, but away to Morton is always a tough fixture and it’s behind us now.

“We’re looking forward to Saturday. We know how tough it will be but we’ve beaten Dundee United twice already.

“Hibs obviously beat us at home earlier in the season but there’s no reason not to go and put in a performance like we’ve been doing.”

Aside from his own success, Mark paid tribute to his fellow award-winner Stevie for his role in overseeing the recent run of results.

He added: “The manager has really turned it round. He sat us down after the Bonnyrigg game and we had a chat about things the players weren’t happy with and that the management weren’t happy with.

“I’ve known him for a long time. He’s a determined guy and has that streak in him that he likes to prove people wrong, which isn’t a bad thing.

“It’s been a really good month for us, especially having had some difficult fixtures, and long may it continue.”

Andy Galloway

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