BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
DAVID SMITH insists being written off by pundits and bookies alike has given Dumbarton all the ammunition they need to survive in the Championship.
The Sons are favourites for the drop in a massively competitive division, with the likes of Ayr United and Morton tipped to finish above Stevie Aitken’s part-timers.
However, now in their fifth successive season in the second tier, Dumbarton proved they won’t go down without a fight last week when they claimed a stunning 1-0 win over Dundee United.
And Smith has revealed the players at The Rock have used pre-season jibes as motivation.
He said: “If you ask eight people out of ten at the start of the season, they are going to say ‘Dumbarton are going down’, simply due to the part-time factor.
“We hear what pundits and other people say and it is something you need to use as motivation.
“It is our job to go out and prove all of those people wrong – getting a result against Dundee United was real message to tell people ‘we’re not here to make up the numbers’.”
Smith, meanwhile, is thriving as he finally emerges as a key player after joining Dumbarton in search of first-team football.
The 23-year-old was a hot prospect at Hearts but never quite managed to cement a starting berth, while he played 51 games for Falkirk – including a Scottish Cup final – without ever making himself indispensable.
However, he has started every game for the Sons so far this term.
Smith continued: “Any player would love to stay in full-time football, but the main aim for me was to be playing every week at this stage in my career. It is what I want and what I need now.
“The manager [Stevie Aitken] sold the club really well to me, outlined the aims and I feel this is a great place to play every week and make a name for myself.
“It’s a different challenge, coming to part-time football, but the standard among the boys is terrific and I’m still playing at a really good level in the Championship, so it is not as if I have taken a massive step down.”
Meanwhile, Morton star Ross Forbes insists the Greenock men are piling the pressure on themselves to challenge for promotion this term – despite being widely overlooked by many.
The former Motherwell star said: “I think it suits us to fly under the radar but there is plenty of pressure from within, from the gaffer [Jim Duffy] and ourselves. We don’t take it lightly and want to win every game.”