Friday 13th January 2017
WHEN young players are released into football’s wilderness, it can be the beginning of the end of their ambitions.
They move down the football ladder, sometimes eventually going part-time. The longer they stay out of the full-time arena, the further away their chances of getting back into it go.
Tom Lang doesn’t see it that way.
Having left Rangers at the end of last season, the Scotland youth international, still aged only 19, continues to follow his dreams.
These include making it at full international level, having gained 15 caps at youth level, one of them as captain of the under-17s.
And he reckons Dumbarton is the perfect place to continue to chase those goals.
He signed for Sons last night, and although he hopes to match the achievements of one of his friends in the game, his immediate goal is to help the club realise its ambitions.
He said: “My time as a Scotland youth international was a good experience, but now it’s all about new experiences.
“It’s great talking about my time with the national teams, but it only counts for so much. Hopefully in a few years’ time I can play for the senior squad.
“I’m just making my way back up again and I’m very happy to have the chance to show my ability at a good level.
“I went into the youth setup at the same time as Oliver Burke. I’m still good friends with him and what he’s done motivates you to do well.
“A love of the game made us friends and I want to follow in his footsteps. It might take me a bit longer than it’s taken him, but it shows what you can do if you work hard enough.
“I’m focused on Dumbarton right now, but who knows what the future holds? Right now I’m just going to take each game as it comes.
“My aim at the moment is to get into the starting 11 and get Dumbarton as high as possible up the league. I’m very grateful to the manager for the opportunity to sign.”
Tom now hopes to make his debut tomorrow in arguably Scotland’s highest-profile game of the day, as Championship leaders Hibernian visit Dumbarton.
With the Premiership currently on its winter shutdown, attention to the match is likely to be high.
But Tom, who can play more than one defensive position, reckons it’s an experience he’ll enjoy if selected.
And, impressed by how the team has fared so far this season, he thinks they can finish the job of achieving survival.
He added: “I’m really looking forward to it. There are 16 games left to try and get myself into the first team and see what I can do from there.
“It’s a competitive league and currently Dumbarton are nine points clear of St Mirren. They have a good opportunity to finish on a strong note.
“My representative was in contact with the gaffer and he said he would take a look at me. After training on Tuesday he said he wanted me to sign a deal, and I’m glad he’s offered me the chance.
“I can’t wait for tomorrow – it’s not a bad first game to be involved in! It’ll be a great experience if I am in the squad, which hopefully I will be.
“I’m mainly a centre half, but I’ve played quite a few games at right back and I’m comfortable in either position.”