Stirling University footballers Conor Doan and Robbie McGale are setting their sights high in the football world after impressing in the Lowland League for their student team.
Both have enjoyed successful periods in the team which saw the students well up into the top 6 places of Scotland’s 5th tier , beside regulars such as Kelty Hearts, Bonnyrigg and East Stirlingshire before the season was cut short by the pandemic.
But now the promising pair are looking forward to life after university as they finish their final year at Stirling.
Dynamic midfielder Conor Doan says that he wants to ‘push himself as far as he can go’ after his final season: “My goal has always just been to just try and push myself and play at the highest level as I can really.
“I aim to play at the highest level that I can, and if I do, I do and if I don’t, then I don’t. But it’s just one of those things that you’ve got to go and do, for me anyway, that’s just one of the things that I’m aiming for.
Conor, who has over 100 games for the University, hailed the number of games that the club afforded him right from the start of his career:
“That’s the good thing about playing in the University as well, you’re playing in the first team straight away, you play regularly enough, get that experience – and then you’re also coming away with a degree at the end, which is great for other jobs.
“I’ve got over a hundred games of Lowland League football under my belt and that’s a really good thing because I’m still young. I’m only 22 just now and I’d say I’ve got a fair bit of experience, especially playing in the Lowland League, which is a really good standard of football.
“I was playing in the Juniors just before coming to the uni, and we were only training twice a week and then a game at the weekend, if you’re not on the team then you’re waiting a week or more for your chance. Whereas if you’re not a regular starter for the uni team you’ve always got chances – I found that in my first and second year as a scholar, he wasn’t starting me every week but you always get your chances in the other teams. The gaffer always gives you a chance and you’ve just got to take it when it comes.”
Conor’s teammate Robbie McGale also has vast experience in the Lowland League with over 100 games, but Robbie also had the unique experience of going on loan to a high-flying Montrose side all the way up in Scotland’s 3rd tier – SPFL League 1.
Robbie said that playing games against the likes of Partick Thistle and Falkirk were vital for his development and career going forward:
“The experience of going to Montrose gave me a good insight into what it’d be like in pro football because they’re a top team in League One so If I can do it, I’m confident that most of the boys could make the step up.
“A few of the boys have played here and there in League One in League Two and I don’t think going pro is something that the boys should be scared of. I think a lot of the boys would relish the challenge.”
With the football experience that Robbie has accumulated in Scotland’s professional leagues he hopes that this will give him a platform to push on in pro football, even if that means going part time with his degree:
“I’m definitely wanting to go and play at a higher level and once I leave University, I’m still not sure about full time.
“I think obviously because the boys have got a degree behind them they’re probably thinking full time not to be that worth it, if you have a good part-time job you can see a different angle to it, it just depends on your unique situation.
“I mean look at lots of part-time teams like Arbroath and Montrose, they’re great part-time clubs, they’re doing so well. Whether the boys want to go full-time I don’t know, I definitely think it still has that glamor maybe I had before but I think it’s different if the opportunity arises you know it’s a different scenario, so it just depends.”