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Joel Nouble describes ‘strange’ Arbroath dressing room without Dick Campbell and sets top of the Championship departure goal

Joel Nouble has been a revelation for Arbroath - but will return to Livingston in the new year.
Joel Nouble has made a huge impact at Arbroath

Arbroath forward Joel Nouble admits it was a ‘strange’ dressing room before the 2-1 over Morton with the absence of manager Dick Campbell and six other first team players.

The Lichties’ gaffer is known for his motivational team talks alongside his brother Ian, but due to Covid, the pair had to miss out the game, which saw their side reach the summit of the Championship.

‘Professional performance’

With a depleted squad, Arbroath were in for a tough afternoon as bottom side Morton scrapped for their lives. But despite a number of men out, Nouble felt there were more than enough players ready to answer the call.

“That’s why we have a good squad”, he said.

“There weren’t a lot of changes from last week [against Partick]. But with Michael McKenna not playing, you can’t really replace him, Tam O’Brien wasn’t here. And Dick and Pink with their personalities and everything.

“It was a bit strange but you’ve got to give a professional performance.

“The players coming in are good enough, the quality hadn’t dropped.

“These sorts of games, from the outside looking in, we’re expected to win. We just said to stay in the game and the quality will come through and in the end it did.”

Visibility issues

As well as the challenge of playing with a lessened squad, the 25-year-old also faced the North Sea haar for the first time as it covered Gayfield like a blanket.

At half-time referee Mike Roncone carried out an inspection with visibility on the far touchline fading. Nouble admits he didn’t know if the game would continue but was glad it did.

“When we went in at half-time, it was like the longest half-time ever,” he said.

“The ref was out trying to check the pitch, but we wanted the game to go on because we felt like it wasn’t a good first half.

“We were average, Morton were probably slightly better than us at keeping the ball.”

Arbroath came out sharper in the second half and won the game with goals from Colin Hamilton and Anton Dowds.

‘Fans have taken me in’

Results elsewhere saw the Lichties jump to the top of the Championship for Christmas, and it’s no more than they deserve, according to the big Englishman.

“Based on the games we’d played,” he said, “we felt like we deserved to be in and around that position.”

Nouble looks set to return to parent club Livingston in January having made his mark on the Angus coast.

If he leaves Arbroath when they are still at the top of the table, he feels that would be the best parting gift to a club that has welcomed him with open arms.

“That would be fantastic,” he said.

“I feel confident against any team we go to, we’ll score goals and win games, so hopefully until I go back, we can remain top.

“The fans have taken me in, the players have been outstanding since day one. I feel like I’ve been here a lot longer than I have and I’ve settled in off the pitch.”

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