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Dundee Striker Wins Award And Remembers His Roots


JoeCovenant

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Source: The Courier

Dundee striker Greg Stewart paused to contemplate the progress his career has made as he was named the SPFL player of the month for January.

It was only last summer that Stewart handed in his notice at Grangemouth oil refinery and now he is being lauded as the best the Premiership had to offer last month. He joined the rest of the Dark Blues in bouncing back in fine fashion from their New Year’s Day derby disappointment against city rivals United, with the former Cowdenbeath man hitting the target five times in seven games t make it a total of 14 for the campaign so far.

Showing he was still close to his roots, it was nice that Stewart chose the occasion of a personal accolade to look back on his days of early starts and tough shifts, all before heading off for training at night.

He said: “The gaffer Paul Hartley signed me in March on a pre-contract and over the summer I was thinking about if I was going to play because of where I had come from. I then worked hard in pre-season and I am reaping the rewards of that now. This time last season I was working at Grangemouth oil refinery, getting up at six in the morning for work and then going to training on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

“My job was full-time, Monday to Friday, and I worked on the high-pressure water-jetting. You have to have a thick skin to work in there - the banter was worse than the dressing room - but I enjoyed it. I used to get picked up in the van at half six, have my breakfast at work, do the job, have lunch, go back out for the rest of the shift, get back home for four and in for half-an-hour for a bite to eat and a wash before training.

“I also have a wee girl Summer so I was getting some grief about never being in the house! It was hectic but I worked with a good bunch of boys there and they are delighted for me. My best mate Craig Perry worked there so obviously I keep in touch with him.

“I remember going in to see my boss to say I was leaving because I was going full-time at Dundee and he told me that he would always be here in case it all goes wrong! Seriously, they are all hoping I can keep getting goals and making progress. I always dreamed I would make it in football and I managed to score a few goals last season.

“Dundee took a chance on me, signed me on the pre-contract and that was my big break. I have grabbed the opportunity and to get an award like this is great for me personally and I am delighted.â€

January saw Stewart continue his free-scoring form and his highlight was the match against Aberdeen, when Dundee took a 3-1 lead before being pegged back late on by the Dons.

He added: “I thought I was in with a chance (of the award) because I scored five goals in January so it was a good month for me personally and for the club overall. We had the bad start with the derby, losing 6-2 to United, but we then went on an unbeaten run. That result gave us a wee boot up the backside and all the boys just got together and said we would have to bounce back.

“We did that and, for example, should have taken more than a point up at Aberdeen. My personal highlight was the Pittodrie game because when we went behind in the first 10 minutes I was thinking: ‘This could be four or five here.’

“Our goalie Scott Bain kept us in the game with a world-class save and then we went ahead before being pegged back. I thought we played so well in that game.â€

Stewart had to come off injured as the Dens men lost to Celtic in the Scottish Cup on Saturday. He would have missed this weekend’s game against Partick Thistle but is suspended anyway.

He said: “I am struggling. My back is killing me but I am suspended anyway so maybe the timing isn’t the worst.â€

Meanhile, former Dundee United boss Peter Houston was named the Championship’s manager of the month and wasn’t too unhappy to see his old club and Celtic draw each other in the Scottish Cup. His Falkirk side are still in the mix – they face Queen of the South - and Houston said: “Celtic and Dundee United are two of the top teams this season and only one of them will be left. “Hibs have got the draw, with all due respect to Spartans and Berwick Rangers, that most managers would have picked. It’s funny how it has worked out with United and Celtic playing each other three weeks in a row. They’ll be three cracking matches by arguably the two best teams in the league, although Aberdeen and Inverness might have something to say about that.â€

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