Morgyn Neill knew after coming up against Cove Rangers he had to get a deal done to join them.
Neill played at the Balmoral Stadium for Dumbarton earlier this year, in a game Cove won 1-0, and the defender was blown away by what he came up against.
He became the first signing of the summer for Cove and Paul Hartley, penning a three-year deal with the club this week.
The former Motherwell youngster knows Cove assistant Gordon Young from his time in the Fir Park academy and it was a no-brainer for him to join forces again.
Neill said: “I loved my time at Dumbarton but felt it was time for a new challenge. I’d known of Cove’s interest for a wee while and I was keen to get it sorted, as it’s a club on the up.
“I spoke to the gaffer and they wanted me on board regardless of whether they were in League One or the Championship.
“The first time I was up here we got beat 1-0 with the goal-line decision (for Rory McAllister’s goal). I got booked right in front of the gaffer!
“I was gobsmacked by the way they tried to play football. With their facilities and their plans for the future, I was really keen to get it sorted. I was probably giving my agent an earful telling him to get it done.”
Neill started his career at Motherwell but had his greatest success at Livingston, winning League One alongside future Aberdeen and current Scotland cap Declan Gallagher.
Prior to his two years with the Sons, he’d also had a year each at Stenhousemuir and Stranraer.
He added: “I’d done my job – I’d help keep Dumbarton in the league. Sometimes you need to move on and I feel I should be in a team challenging for this league.
“That’s my ambition. I want to be in the Championship, especially at Cove.
“My mind was made up to join Cove but Stevie Farrell, who used to be my manager at Stranraer, got the job at Dumbarton and I knew he would try and phone me to keep me on board.
“But he knew about Cove. He told me I should sign with Cove before he got the Dumbarton job.
“Once I told Dumbarton I was moving on they respected that and I think they knew I deserved something better.”
Neill is keen to work with Hartley and to be reunited with Young again, who had a great sway in his formative years as a footballer.
He said: “On the Sunday (after the 1-0 game) Youngy gave me a message to say the gaffer wanted me on board. I was still a Dumbarton player and had to concentrate on their games.
“I met Paul a couple of weeks ago and it was a no-brainer. I know Youngy well – he’s from Motherwell, the same as me – and he’d had me since I was eight-year-old at Motherwell.
“He’s been totally honest with me and is someone I really respect. When I was younger I had a lot of interest; I was going down to Man Utd as a young boy and a lot of clubs wouldn’t have let you.
“He was up front when clubs approached Motherwell to speak to me, like when Chris McCart tried to take me to Celtic.
“Once I spoke to Paul I said ‘I want to be part of something that’s going up’. That’s no disrespect to Dumbarton but I don’t just want to stay in the league.
“I’m 25, I’m experienced and I’ve played a lot of games. I’ve played in the Championship and been full-time. I’ve won this league with Livingston. I know what it takes to win this league and I know what it takes to stay in this league.”