Sean Dillon has urged his Montrose team-mates to ‘seize the moment’ as they prepare to take on Morton in the Championship play-offs.
Experienced former Dundee United defender Dillon helped Montrose clinch fourth place and a chance of promotion to the Championship in the final moments of Tuesday’s 3-2 win over League One champions Partick Thistle.
St Johnstone loanee Cammy Ballantyne netted an 87th minute winner for Montrose before Airdrieonians opened the door for the Angus men with a late 2-0 win over Falkirk.
And Dillon, who won the Scottish Cup with United in 2010 and was a runner-up in 2014, is hoping his team-mates rise to the occasion.
“When you are younger you just assume it’ll happen again and again but it took more 12 years before I won another league with Montrose.”
“I’m 37 now and in football you never know when your next big game is going to be,” said Dillon. “You can’t take anything for granted. Nothing is certain.
“I remember winning the League of Ireland with Shelbourne at 23 and my team-mate Alan Reynolds telling me he had four winners medals.
Seize the moment
“When you are younger you just assume it’ll happen again and again but it took more 12 years before I won another league with Montrose.
“Big games don’t come round every year and this is a big game.
“I’m not saying we should just go out there and enjoy the occasion but we do need to seize the moment.
“Let’s treat it like it could be our last big game and give absolutely everything we can to make it special. Then maybe there will be another big game to look forward to.
“I was injured and told the lads to savour every 90 minutes because they don’t know when the next game of football will be.”
“If the last year has taught us anything then it’s that nothing is certain in life.
“I remember being at our game with Clyde earlier in the season.
“I was injured and told the lads to savour every 90 minutes because they don’t know when the next game of football will be.
“Little did I know that a few weeks later the season would be halted because of Covid-19. Back then, I genuinely didn’t know when we’d play again.
“We’ll never complain about having more games to play. It’s been a very packed schedule of games but it’s a privilege to play football and be involved in the play-offs.”
Dillon clocked up 345 appearances for United during a ten-year stint at Tannadice.
Since moving to Montrose in 2017 he’s been a regular at the heart of the Links Park defence, turning out 144 times for Stewart Petrie’s men.
He helped them win the League Two title in 2018 and has led them to three consecutive fourth-placed finishes since.
It’s an impressive run for a Montrose side who were on the brink of crashing out of the SPFL altogether in 2015 as they trailed Brora Rangers in the final leg of the first-ever pyramid play-off.
And while Montrose may not have the riches of many of the wealthier full-time clubs above them, Dillon insists the club is superbly well-run.
“The job the gaffer has done since coming here is enormous,” said Dillon. “We were sitting second bottom of League Two and in trouble again but he transformed it to get us into the play-offs in 2017.
Montrose Community Trust
“We won the league the next year and since coming up we’ve more than held our own.
“Everything is right at the club off the park and that makes a huge difference.
“The club can be immensely proud of the way the Montrose Community Trust is run. It’s not just good in Angus or Scotland but it’s recognised as one of the best in Europe.
— Montrose Community Trust (@MontroseTrust) April 27, 2021
“As players we always feel like the club has our back. Even when results don’t go well there’s no pressure or blame.
“They trust in the team to get it right and we want success for them, the town and everyone behind the scenes.
“Ronnie Marquis our groundsman has been here for decades and football is his life. I feel like he lives at Links Park.
Ron did two weeks of cover as a groundsman at Montrose Football Club – and over 30 years later he's still there! (via @BBCScotland)#AVFTT Streaming now – https://t.co/p37j2Hivra pic.twitter.com/FMId1NajcD
— BBC Radio Scotland (@BBCRadioScot) February 15, 2021
“But there are so many other volunteers behind the scenes and in the offices that we want to win games for.
“We want to put a smile on all of their faces.
“Can we beat Morton? Who knows. They are the full-time team from the Championship and the expectation is all on them.
“We have to go out there and give a good account of ourselves and walk off the park feeling like we’ve given our all.”