RUSSELL McLEAN did not expect the chance to come his way to end 10 months without a goal.
Having feared that Dumbarton’s game with Annan Athletic would fizzle out, he instead ended up winning it for them – in exactly the same goal as he scored his last one.
He did that in the blue jersey of Peterhead, in a 1-1 draw with Sons last April. It would be the last game he played for eight months due to injury troubles.
He switched to the white, black and gold of Dumbarton last month, and after getting more game time week on week, is now off the mark for goals.
He said: “I thought the game was going to die a death, but your natural instinct is just to batter the ball at the target and that is what I did.
“It is my first goal since I scored here for Peterhead last season, 10 months ago.
“Since I have come to the club, a lot of the games have been like that, but when you go one up it is hard to get a hold of the game.
“The last time I played in this league, it was exactly the same there too – teams are as direct as you can be.
“It could be a huge goal at the end of the season. Last week at Stenhousemuir we were 10 seconds away from another three points, but this league has always been the same.
“There are no easy games in it but there are plenty of fixtures left and we need to get ready for the next one at East Fife.”
That trip to New Bayview is another important one in the bid to keep Dumbarton at the top of cinch League Two.
The seven-point cushion could be reduced when Stirling Albion visit Bonnyrigg Rose on Tuesday night, but Russell is targeting another victory at Methil four days later – and possibly his first start for Sons.
He added: “My return is going slowly but surely. It is good to be back in action but it is not without issues. Tomorrow I will probably wake up with a sore ankle.
“But I had never had a long-term injury until the one I have just had. It has been a long process recovering but I seem to be on a clear run.
“Hopefully I have played myself into contention for a start at East Fife next week, but I know the gaffer likes to keep his team the same if we are doing well.
“He has a decision to make, and hopefully we can play a bit better next week, since it is an artificial pitch through there.
“If we play to our strengths, keep the ball and pass it about, we can get another result, but it will be a difficult game.”