Friday 16th September 2016
HE was the most neutral man in the stand last Saturday.
Wearing the tie of one club, but with a foot in the camp of the other.
In the end, Sam Stanton may not have been too disappointed. His boyhood team, and the one he’s played for since he was 12, beat Dumbarton 1-0.
But currently, and for the rest of season 2016/17 bar the other three games against Hibernian, he’s a Sons player.
And as he prepares for his league debut tomorrow, there’s no doubting where Sam’s loyalties will be placed in the match against St Mirren.
He’s been on loan at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium for 16 days, but all he’s had so far in terms of match action has been the first 56 minutes of the recent 1-0 Irn Bru Cup defeat at Stranraer.
Having sat out against his parent club last Saturday, the match against the winless Buddies is one he’s been targeting.
And with Sons facing their biggest game of the season so far, he hopes to do his bit.
Sam said: “It was strange watching from the stand last Saturday as my loan club played my parent one.
“But I had that last season during my loan spell with Livingston. It’s something you just get on with.
“I was very happy to join Dumbarton and get the chance to play some football. They’re a team I’ve played against several times and I’ve always found it a difficult game.
“The move didn’t come about until the final few days of the transfer window. I had a meeting with Hibs and said I wanted to play games, and they agreed to let me go out on loan.
“Stevie Aitken contacted me shortly afterwards and I was delighted to get the chance.
“I’d only just joined when we played Stranraer and didn’t know any of the players.
“Since then I’ve had a few training sessions with them and seen that they are good players. I’m looking forward to starting league business tomorrow.
“It’s been some time since I played in a league match. Hopefully I will get the full 90 minutes tomorrow and show what I am capable of doing.”
There’s some sort of irony in it for Sam, as he spent the second half of last season fighting to ensure that Sons didn’t achieve their goal.
He was on loan at Livingston, who were condemned to the play-offs as a result of Dumbarton’s 2-1 win over St Mirren on the penultimate Saturday.
Livi were then relegated, but now Sam hopes that he can be part of a repeat result against the Paisley men tomorrow.
And as with all loan moves, there are targets on a personal level as well, with the 22-year-old still having a year left on his contract with Hibs beyond this season.
He added: “I got games with Livingston last season and managed to get back into a rhythm. I also started scoring goals again.
“Livingston were quite unfortunate to be relegated last year, especially with the way it came about through the play-offs.
“But I learned a lot. I didn’t have as much of the ball as I would when playing for Hibs.
“From what I’ve seen of Dumbarton so far they are definitely capable of staying up again, and that’s something I want to help them achieve.
“Hopefully I can go back to Hibs at the end of the season a better player. I grew up five minutes from Easter Road and have been there nearly 10 years.
“However, my first goal is to help Dumbarton do well. My focus is entirely on that.”