Dunfermline Athletic

Spook’s season on the road

Wednesday, 30th May 2018

Play off winner returns to East End Park with a new one year contract

Brandon Luke has been with Dunfermline all the way through his development since the age of ten. At under 17 level he was taken under the Fife Elite programme and after signing for Dunfermline for last season was loaned out to Annan Athletic from August to January and then Cowdenbeath for the remainder of the season.

“When the gaffer told me that Annan were interested in taking me I was interested but I did not realise how far away Annan was until I went down” said Brandon.

“My first home game was against Celtic under 20s in the Irn Bru Cup. My dad said that we would leave about three o clock and when we got all the way down there I thought ‘oh my god, I don’t know if I can do this’.

“I stayed all the way through until January. It was good I enjoyed it but the travelling was hard. We trained down there at the stadium too and that started at half seven. To be there for seven, I was leaving at four and wasn’t getting in until half twelve and then had to be in for training at Dunfermline for nine the next day.”

Despite the travelling Brandon enjoyed his time with the Galabank club in League Two making 17 appearances:-

“It was good playing with men. I did not start as many games as I would have liked. I played eleven on the bounce but then I got injured, missed a week and after that I was in and out.”

On 16 December Brandon came on as a 71st minute sub in the home match against Stirling Albion and he scored the equaliser three minutes from time. He explained how his first professional goal went in:-

“We were getting beat 1-0 and all I remember is cutting in, driving past a player and get in a shot. It had gone in bottom left but I couldn’t even see it, I just heard the cheering and thought it must have gone in. I just sprinted about, I was happy and I was buzzing.”

When Brandon returned from Annan he was actually on the bench for Dunfermline when they met Dundee United at East End Park but before the month was out he was loaned out to Cowdenbeath.

“From Annan to Cowdenbeath was different, the training was hard but it was a good experience. I had never been in a relegation battle but it was good winning on the last day of the season to stay up.”

Brandon described the first leg of the play off final at Cove Rangers resembling a war.

“There were tackles flying in and there were free kicks here, there, everywhere. It was just crazy. The gaffer wasn’t happy with the performance, we drew 0-0 but he expected more so we trained before the Saturday.

“Everyone was up for it. You could just tell by the mood and luckily we got the win. I came on in the last ten minutes and as soon as I came on it was mayhem. Four men were sent off after we scored the winning goal.

“Their keeper came out and cleared it and our striker tripped up the goalie so he wasn’t in his goal. It came to our player and he just hit it at the goal. It kicked off from there and I was straight into the changing room at the final whistle.”

The result went the right way for the Blue Brazil surviving the play off final for the second successive year and that meant that there were emotional scenes at Central Park. Brandon said that when the chairman came in to see the players, he was crying with happiness.

John Potter commented on the anticipated effect of loaning Brandon out:-

“You put him out on loan to Annan hoping that he will play but you cannot guarantee that. He started the first six or seven games did really well but I think he would admit himself, his form dipped a wee bit and he came out the team as you would at any other team.

“He found it hard to get back in and he was bit part after that. He found the travelling hard but we wanted him to play. We were looking at footage of him and checking reports on him. It was difficult because we never had games here to supplement that.

“When he went to Cowdenbeath it was the opposite. He didn’t start as many games at the start, it took a wee bit time to get in the team. Then towards the end he played a lot more games and they were happy with him in difficult circumstances.

“He saw both sides of it last season and hopefully he will come back a stronger player, stronger mentally for it and kick on when he is here.”

The 19 year old midfielder agreed that he had learned a lot from Peter Murphy, the Annan manager and from his counterpart Gary Bollan at Cowdenbeath.

“They both helped me. The Annan manager was good, he told me what I need to improve on and gave me a chance. Gary Bollan and the assistant manager (Mark Fotheringham) both helped me. Both of them had played at a high level and they knew what I had to try and improve on.”

Now back at Dunfermline ‘Spook’ is hoping to start pre season “flying” in order to catch the eye of Allan Johnston, Sandy Clark and Potts.

“I need to play well in the reserves and hope to take my chance. Hopefully I can kick on this season and do what Callum Smith did by getting into the first team.”

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