Jul 20 2011 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge
ALBION ROVERS v
PLAY-OFF hero Scott Chaplain reckons the enormity of Albion Rovers’ success last season will only sink in when the new campaign starts tomorrow.
The ex-Rangers kid was an influential figure for his side after netting 11 goals as Rovers won promotion for the first time in 22 years.
Chaplain thrilled the Cliftonhill faithful by agreeing to stay at the club in the wake of Rovers’ elevation to the Second Division.
And the former SPFA Third Division player of the year says the squad will realise just how special their achievement was when they reap the harvest of last term’s exploits.
Rovers open the 2011-12 campaign at home to Annan Athletic in the first round of the Ramsdens Cup.
“It feels like it’s just been a couple of weeks since we were celebrating and talking about winning promotion down at Annan,” he told Advertiser Sport.
“But we’ve had time to enjoy the moment and I’ve been looking forward to getting back and preparing for the new season.
“Pre-season has gone well for us and everybody has worked hard. We’re now champing at the bit to get started and play competitive matches.
“I think that what we achieved last season will sink in more once the new season actually starts as we will become more aware of the bigger teams we’ll be playing.
“There will be bigger crowds at our games and hopefully we can at least hold our own in the Second Division.”
Rovers defeated Annan in the Third Division play-off final last season and Chaplain added: "It was strange to see the draw pair us with them.
"We know they will be desperate to come up here and prove a point after we defeated them in the play-offs.
“The cup games in the next two weeks are important but I would say the league is vital as we want to try to establish ourselves at that level quickly.”
Rovers boss Paul Martin looks set to continue with the 4-3-1-2 formation which served his side well towards the end of their promotion run.
Chaplain says he relishes his role in that particular system and believes the strength of Rovers’ playing staff will prove crucial.
He added: “We’re yet to see what formation we’re going to go with but since I’ve came, it’s been nice to play in a role which allows me to push forward.”