Tuesday 24th May 2022
BY virtue of six minutes at Cliftonhill, Martin McNiff is already part of a promotion-winning team with Dumbarton.
He had much more game time as part of another Sons side which moved up through the divisions.
Now, almost 10 years since he last kicked a ball in Dumbarton colours, he wants to make it three with the club, and four all in.
He left what is now the Dumbarton Football Stadium as a 21-year-old who would go on to be in a winning team at Ibrox that season.
Who had been part of the champions of 2009 courtesy of those six minutes in a 3-1 win away to Albion Rovers in September of that season.
And who three years later, celebrated promotion again elsewhere in Lanarkshire, at Airdrie after the playoff final.
He comes back with that, another promotion with Clyde in 2019, and hundreds of senior games, added to his CV.
He should also reach 100 games in a Sons shirt this season, currently sitting on 93.
And when you speak to the defender, there is no mistaking his delight at being back.
Speaking to dumbartonfootballclub.com, Martin said: “It’s a funny old game and you can end up going in circles, but I’m back here and I’m delighted.
“I had a quick chat with the gaffer and when he said he was interested, with the history I was had with the club, I was very pleased to get things sorted.
“It’s one of those where you already have memories, but want to make more. I had a good time when I was at Dumbarton – it was a very successful time for me, and I want to look at this as a new chapter with more memories to be made.
“I’ve certainly got loads of experience under my belt since I was last here. I’ve played mostly in Leagues One and Two since I left and in a way, coming through the youth setup at Dumbarton stood me in good stead for what was to come, and where I am going now.
“I hope I can carry that experience into my time at Dumbarton. There are a lot of vastly experienced players there.
“Everybody in the league will be in the same boat. They will fancy themselves to challenge for the playoffs or to win the league, but I don’t like making massive statements like that.
“It’s probably important for us to put short term goals out there. We will be aiming, every quarter of the season, to get as high up the table as we can.
“It is a hard league to get out of, but if we get a good team spirit who knows where that can take us. The manager has spoken about a trip away in pre-season and these things can build morale and get everybody moving in the same direction.
“You’ll be going for a title knowing that every player is in it together. That’s massive.
“I wouldn’t sign with a team if it didn’t have ambition, and the manager has it. But we will just take things one step at a time.”
That victory at Ibrox came with Annan Athletic in a fourth tier fixture in March 2013, the week after Rangers clinched the league championship.
Six years later, Martin contributed eight goals towards a successful push by Clyde for promotion to what is now cinch League One.
Even three years after that, the hunger to do well has not left him.
He added: “That was a strange experience, totally unexpected. It wasn’t long after I went on loan there from Dumbarton and to go to Ibrox and win was unbelievable.
“Since then there have been some other good results, like Annan beating Hamilton Accies and then getting promotion with Clyde. Again, that was a tough season with a lot of good teams in the league. To get promoted was a real achievement.
“But at this stage in my career, I am still hungry and want to win things, and that just drives me on even more any time I play.
“I just want to give my all.
“I had a disappointing season with Stirling last year, when they finished seventh in the league. If anything, that has driven me on further to have a good season this time.”
Dumbarton Football Club