Interview with Forfar Athletic’s Russell Dingwall

Russell Dingwall was delighted to end his loan spell at Forfar Athletic with a win after Saturday’s 2-1 win at Airdrieonians.

The 20 year midfielder from Ross County played in all fourteen games after joining the Loons on deadline day in January and scored once in a 5-1 win over Stranraer.

Dingwall believes it was good to finish the season off with a win after a difficult season for everyone involved with the club.

“It’s good to get the win, it’s been a hard season for all of us but to finish off with a win is good, the boys deserved it after all the effort they put in.”

Despite the Loons having nothing to play for, Dingwall felt the game still meant a lot to the players but not as much as it would had if they were still involved in the relegation battle.

“We wanted to win today, it meant a lot to us but not as much as it would have if we were still in a scrap but I’m happy with how I played overall.”

Dingwall is out of contract with his parent club in the summer but hopes he has done enough to earn himself a new deal at Victoria Park under Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson.

“I’ve not heard anything from Ross County for next season yet so I just hope the gaffer will want to offer me a contract for next year.”

The midfielder admits he would be keen for a longer stay at the Loons if he was given the chance to do so.

“If I was to go part time I’d be happy to come back to Forfar, it’s a great club and they’ve been very good to me since I arrived so I would like to come back.”

During his time at the club, Dingwall played alongside experienced midfielder Mark Millar and the youngster has loved learning from the former Falkirk man.

“It’s been good playing alongside Mark, he’s obviously played at a higher level for a long time so he’s coached me through a few games and I’ve enjoyed playing alongside him.”

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Interview with Forfar Athletic’s Marc McCallum

Marc McCallum was elated to pick up three awards in the Forfar Athletic end of season presentation on Saturday and admits it’s the first time he’s won anything.

The 25 year old goalkeeper was named the Supporters’ Player of the Year, Away Supporters’ Player of the Year as well as the Players’ Player of the Year following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Queen’s Park.

McCallum couldn’t hide his delight after winning the awards and praised the side’s change in fortunes after the appointment of Jim Weir in October.

“I’m happy to pick up the awards, it was funny I was laughing with the boys at each of the awards, it’s been a change of fortunes since the new manager came in. Obviously we’ve picked up a few points and I’ve helped out where I can trying to keep the ball out of the net.”

“On a personal level it’s been a good season so it’s nice to win the awards, I’ve never won anything before and they’ve all come at once so I’m pretty chuffed to be fair.”

Forfar have gained just three points this season against Queen’s Park with three draws and a defeat and the keeper feels the side tired easily on Saturday, adding it’s been a regular occurrence against the Spiders this season.

“When we go 1-0 up, we look good, we played some good stuff and looked like we had no pressure on us because there is none. I think we tired really quickly, it’s been a thing against Queen’s Park this season, we’ve just not played that well against them at times.”

The season will end this Saturday with a trip to Airdrieonians; the Loons are currently on 35 points with manager Jim Weir setting a target of 37 previously. McCallum hopes they can end the season on a high for themselves and the supporters that will travel down to New Broomfield.

“The gaffer’s wanting 37 points, so a win to end the season would be great considering the position we were in and a win would give us a bit of momentum going into next season as well. It’s tough because there is nothing to play for but we will treat it like every other game and hope to end the season on a high.”

With League One potentially being an all part time league including all four Angus clubs, McCallum is eager to help the Loons get into the top half of the league.

“It’s going to be a very interesting league next year, you could potentially have twelve derbies so it will be so competitive next season and it will be good for the supporters. Obviously four teams in the one league hasn’t happened for years so it will be interesting.”

“It might be an all part time league so the opportunity is there to maybe win the league but we want to get ourselves up in the top half and enjoy the derbies and occasions.”

McCallum signed a deal until 2020 in October last year and he reckons it was a no brainer to extend his stay at his hometown club where he admits he is enjoying his football for the first time in a few years.

“When the gaffer asked the question, I spoke to my family and that, it’s the first time I’ve actually enjoyed my football for years. I thought why do a lot of players move and bounce around clubs and I don’t want to be like that just now.”

“They offered me a long term deal back in October and that doesn’t happen very often at part time level. When you know a club and a manager want you, you take it with both hands and it’s made me settle down, enjoy my football and concentrate on my job.”

Albion Rovers 0 Forfar Athletic 1 (League One) 7th April 2018

On a wet and dull afternoon in Coatbridge, Forfar Athletic gave themselves a great chance of survival in League One as a late winner gave them all three points against Albion Rovers.

The game was lacking a cutting edge until the 91st minute when sub Josh Peters netted from 15 yards out.

Jim Weir made just one change from the defeat to Stranraer seven days prior, Mark Millar returning to replace Kevin McNaughton.

Murray Mackintosh almost put the Loons ahead just 27 seconds in as he chased down an attempted clearance; he cut inside before curling the effort into the arms of Daniel Potts.

In the sixth minute Forfar came close again as Dylan Easton’s corner found the head of Eddie Malone but Matthew Aitken couldn’t fire the loose ball through the sea of yellow shirts.

Three minutes later Mackintosh cleared a Conor Scullion header off the line from a Scott McLean corner.

Mark Millar fires over from the edge of the box for Forfar before Michael Travis nodded high above the bar in the 13th minute.

Jim Weir was forced into an early sub as Malone limped off to be replaced by Andrew Munro.

Rovers’ Scott McLaughlin saw his weak free kick easily smothered by Marc McCallum while at the other end Easton and Dale Hilson both wasted good opportunities as they failed to find the target.

The Loons could have been ahead four minutes after the break when a low cross found Aitken but he sliced his effort before Mackintosh’s shot was held by Potts.

Shortly after the hour mark Easton tried to break the deadlock from 35 yards, sending his free kick agonisingly over the bar.

Easton had another chance in the 69th minute as the weather worsened, cutting inside from the left wing but he couldn’t beat the first man with his effort and the loose ball was eventually cleared.

With less than fifteen minutes remaining Jamie Bain sent a cross into the box and sub Greg Hurst connected with it only to see his shot blocked.

Hurst was denied again by Potts with a weak low effort as the game edged closed to the end.

With it looking like it would end goalless, Josh Peters popped up with another late winner after netting the fourth in a seven goal thriller at Cliftonhill in November.

A counter attack in the first minute of injury time saw Dale Hilson break with the ball; he played Peters in and after getting it under control he stroked the ball past Potts to the delight of the squad, board and travelling supporters.

The result pushes the Loons seven points clear of both Rovers and Queen’s Park with three games remaining and survival is definitely in their own hands.

Albion Rovers: Daniel Potts, Alan Reid, Scott McLaughlin, Jason Marr, Ross Perry, Graeme Holmes, Scott McLean, Craig McLeish (Michael McMullin 82), Sean Higgins (Ryan Watters 50), Conor Scullion (Mikey Hopkins 55), Joao Victoria

Subs not used: Daniel Baur, John Guthrie, Lloyd Fallon, Jamie Gallagher

Forfar Athletic: Marc McCallum, Jamie Bain, Darren Whyte, Eddie Malone (Andrew Munro 20), Michael Travis, Mark Millar, Murray Mackintosh, Russell Dingwall, Dale Hilson, Dylan Easton (Josh Peters 83), Matthew Aitken (Greg Hurst 65)

Subs not used: Ross MacIver, Kevin McNaughton, Dean Brotherston, Grant Adam

Interview with Forfar Athletic’s Dale Hilson

Dale Hilson is loving life back at Forfar Athletic after a goal and an assist helped the side defeat East Fife at the weekend.

The attacker returned to the club for his sixth spell in January and feels everyone has welcomed him back with open arms.

The former Dundee United, Queen of the South and St Mirren man reckons it helps that he knows what the club’s all about with his teammates helping him settle once again.

“It’s great to be back, everyone’s welcomed me back with open arms, obviously I’ve been here many times before, I know what the club’s about and the boys have been brilliant as well so I’ve really enjoyed it so far and it will be good to continue it.”

With the side defeating East Fife 2-0, the 25 year old was pleased with the side’s performances and reckons if they can keep that up they will be fine after extending the gap at the bottom to four points.

“It was good to get the win, it’s a good three points, I thought we were very good from back to front. Every game from now to the end of the season is important but if we play the way we know we can then we should be fine.”

Hilson grabbed the second goal that sealed the points after setting up Dylan Easton’s opener, however he felt his overall performance could have been better.

He said: “Obviously it’s good to get a goal and an assist, but I didn’t think my overall play was that great to be honest with you but it’s still great to get on the scoresheet and set one up if it gets us the win.”

The striker admits he doesn’t want to be relying on other sides helping the Loons’ cause, believing the side can take care of themselves in the last five games.

“We’re just going to concentrate on our own performances, first and foremost we need to take care of ourselves. If we can produce more results like that, that’s all that matters to us. We don’t want to be relying on other teams to helping us out so as long as we can keep getting results it’s good.”

Forfar Athletic 2 Raith Rovers 1 (League One) 13th March 2018

Forfar Athletic gave their survival hopes a boost as they moved out of the relegation play off spot with a 2-1 win over league leaders Raith Rovers on Tuesday.

A Matthew Aitken double gave the Loons all three points despite Lewis Vaughan’s late consolation.

Following Saturday’s disappointing defeat to Arbroath, Jim Weir made one change as Mark Millar returned from injury to replace Greg Hurst.

The Loons had the first chance of the game just ninety seconds after kick off when the influential Millar tried his luck from distance; Raith keeper Aaron Lennox smothering the shot with ease.

In the fourth minute Millar teed up Russell Dingwall who turned his marker and sent a shot towards goal but Lennox wasn’t to be beaten once again.

Four minutes later Matthew Aitken was sent in on goal by Murray Mackintosh; the striker lashing the ball across the face of goal with Lennox scrambling to try and get a hand to the shot but it went past the post.

Lennox almost handed Dale Hilson the opener shortly after when his poor kick landed at the feet of Hilson; the keeper managed to recover and deny the striker from 20 yards.

The visitors’ first chance came after 14 minutes when Jason Thomson’s cross found Greig Spence but he couldn’t keep his volley from the edge of the box down and it flew miles over.

Lewis Vaughan forced a save from Marc McCallum from a free kick in one of very few occasions the shotstopper was called into action throughout the evening.

Just after the half hour mark Vaughan sent another free kick into the danger zone, however Jason Thomson headed wide.

The Loons thought they had taken the lead two minutes before the break when Dylan Easton’s free kick was flicked on by Andy Munro for Michael Travis to bullet home but he was adjudged to have been offside and the goal was ruled out.

Hilson and Millar failed to find the target as Forfar kept up their pressure on the visiting defence in the second half.

Liam Buchanan fired horribly over the bar in the 57th minute for Raith while an Easton corner at the other end found Munro, only for his header to be cleared off the line.

Aitken headed over from a Bain cross after 64 minutes however he made up for that four minutes later; another cross from Bain was dropped by Lennox and the striker was more than happy to stab the loose ball into the net.

Another Easton corner found Munro with the defender heading wide this time but it wasn’t long before the Loons extended their lead.

With fifteen minutes remaining Millar sent Mackintosh racing away on the right wing; his teasing low cross into the box was diverted past Lennox by a stretching Aitken for his second of the evening and seventh of the season, making him the Loons’ top scorer in the league.

Raith pulled a goal back to make it a nervy ending for Jim Weir’s side as Vaughan netted from a Willis Furtado corner.

Easton almost made it three for Forfar with a couple of curling efforts from the edge of the box late on but he couldn’t find the target.

The result means the Loons move up to eighth in the table with a five point gap between them and Queen’s Park. They also have a one point gap over Albion Rovers, however they have two games in hand against Ayr United and Arbroath.

Forfar Athletic: McCallum, Bain, Whyte, Munro, Travis, Millar, Mackintosh, Dingwall, Hilson, Easton (Hurst 90+1), Aitken

Subs not used: Starkey, Peters, MacIver, Allan, McNaughton, Adam (gk)

Raith Rovers: Lennox, Thomson, Murray, Davidson, Benedictus, Hendry, Matthews (Court 82), Furtado, Buchanan (Zanatta 58), Spence (Barr 58), Vaughan

Subs not used: McHattie, McKay, Watson, Smith (gk)

Queen’s Park 2 Forfar Athletic 2 (League One) 24th February 2018

A fantastic free kick from Dylan Easton rescued a point for ten man Forfar Athletic in their relegation clash with Queen’s Park at Hampden.

Despite Dale Hilson’s early opener, the Loons fell behind to goals from Adam Cummins and Aidan Keena but Dylan Easton rescued a point despite Eddie Malone’s red card.

Jim Weir fielded the same starting line up that hammered Stranraer the week before and it looked like it would pay off again within three minutes; a long kick by Marc McCallum allowed Dale Hilson to race clear and send the ball past the keeper from 20 yards.

In the ninth minute the hosts had their first opportunity; Ross Millen’s cross found the head of Sean Burns but he could only send the ball over the bar.

Eleven minutes later Adam Cummins did the same as Burns from a David Galt corner.

Hilson had Forfar’s only other chance of the half after 24 minutes, however he snatched at the ball from long range and couldn’t keep his effort down.

The Spiders brought themselves level after 33 minutes; Galt’s free kick was bulleted home by Cummins with the defence left standing.

Aidan Keena was unlucky not to push the hosts ahead just before half time with a curling effort that McCallum had to look sharp to tip over.

Keena managed to find the back of the net six minutes into the second half when a ball into the box was taken down by the striker and he coolly slotted past McCallum.

Robbie Leitch almost added a third after 53 minutes as a Galt corner was flicked on by Anton Brady but Leitch couldn’t keep his shot down.

Leitch created a chance for Kenna on the hour mark with McCallum able to hold the header.

Three minutes later Russell Dingwall found Andy Munro with a cross into the danger zone with the defender heading on to the roof of the net.

The Loons were dealt a blow in the 72nd minute when Eddie Malone was sent off for two bookable offences.

Despite the disadvantage Dylan Easton levelled the scores with a fantastic free kick from 20 yards into the top corner.

This gave Forfar a lift and Matthew Aitken should have put Forfar ahead in the 76th minute but was denied twice by the defence in quick succession.

Daniel Nimmo headed wide for the hosts with eight minutes remaining as both sides looked for a winner.

Both sides came close deep into added time with Kenna and Hilson denied by the opposite defences.

Queen’s Park: Michael White, Ross Millen, Sean Burns, Daniel Nimmo, Adam Cummins, Scott Gibson (Ciaran Summers 76), Gregor Fotheringham, Anton Brady (Jamie Gullane 80), Aidan Keena, Dominic Docherty (Robbie Leitch 36), David Galt

Subs not used: Luke Donnelly, Billy Mortimer, Thomas Orr, Lewis Magee (gk)

Forfar Athletic: Marc McCallum, Jamie Bain, Murray Mackintosh, Eddie Malone, Darren Whyte, Mark Millar (Andy Munro 40), Greg Hurst (Josh Peters 61), Russell Dingwall, Dale Hilson, Dylan Easton (Michael Travis 88), Matthew Aitken

Subs not used: Scott McBride, Ross MacIver, Kevin McNaughton, Grant Adam (gk)

Forfar Athletic 5 Stranraer 1 (League One) 17th February 2018

An empathic Forfar Athletic display ensured they moved out of the danger zone with a 5-1 win at home to Stranraer.

A Matthew Aitken double along with goals from Russell Dingwall, Greg Hurst and Dylan Easton clinched a well deserved three points at Station Park as Forfar moved up to eighth in League One.

Jim Weir was forced into two changes from the previous week with Michael Travis and Andy Munro suspended; Dylan Easton and the returning Dale Hilson taking their place.

The Loons were ahead after just 90 seconds when Matthew Aitken connected with a Russell Dingwall corner and fired home through a group of players.

Two minutes later another Dingwall corner caused problems with Darren Whyte and Mark Millar seeing shots blocked by the visitors’ defence.

In the 4th minute Forfar added a second to keep up their empathic start to the game; Dylan Easton sending a cross to the back post for Aitken to stab past Max Currie.

Dale Hilson almost grabbed a goal on his return to Station Park after six minutes as he outmuscled David Barron but his effort cannoned off the crossbar with Currie beaten.

Angus Beith blasted over from yards out for Stranraer in one of very few chances in the first half for the visitors.

Easton, Aitken and Greg Hurst were all denied by a desperate Stranraer defence as the Loons looked to add to their tally.

They eventually did so in the 24th minute; Dingwall made his way towards goal and let fly with a low effort from 25 yards for his first ever senior goal.

Four minutes later the Loons were further ahead and it was another first as Hilson and Easton combined to allow Hurst to grab his first goal for the club.

Kyle Wilkie failed to trouble Marc McCallum twice in quick succession and at the other end there was almost a fifth for Forfar ten minutes before the break as Easton saw his effort fly just past the post.

Forfar seemed to take their foot off the gas at the start of the second half as Stranraer tried to squeeze their way back into the game.

Half time sub Dean Hawkshaw fired over in the 53rd minute while Grant Anderson did the same shortly after.

On the hour mark Easton saw his shot deflected over the bar but he wasn’t to be denied in the 71st minute when Forfar added a fifth.

A brilliant ball across the box from Mark Millar found Easton and he controlled it before lashing home past Currie.

Forfar looked to be home and dry with three points and a clean sheet but with two minutes left the latter was taken away from them; sub Paul Woods’ effort on goal took a massive deflection and sent McCallum the wrong way.

The result lifts the Loons up to eighth in League One with another big match this weekend as they travel to Hampden Park to take on Queen’s Park.

McCallum, Bain, Mackintosh, Malone, Whyte, Millar, Hurst (McBride 82), Dingwall, Hilson (Peters 79), Easton (MacIver 76), Aitken

Subs not used: McNaughton, Starkey, Allan, Adam (gk)