One of the key players catching the eye in recent times amongst our promising Development League squad is Riley Haston. His goalscoring prowess – more goals than games in Hi Hi’s colours by some margin – has brought him a few first team opportunities to date, and he netted his first senior goal in last May’s League Cup Quarter-Final win over Coldstream. More recently, he scored for the first team in the Premier Division win over Glenrothes. Riley turns 19 in July, and is looking to progress beyond the Under 20 environment next season – so it’s great to have Riley on board.

We recently caught up with the former Portobello player to hear about his season to date, the transition to playing with the first team and looking ahead to the U20 League Cup Final against St Andrews.

Did you expect to score so many goals for the U20s this season?

“It’s the first season I’ve played as an out and out striker. I used to play on the wing. It’s been a good move for me getting the chance to play as a striker. I certainly expected to score goals, but not nearly as many as I have!”

You can’t score regularly without good support from your team-mates?

“A lot of the time it’s been about being in the right position. I’m fortunate to have good teammates around me. We have quality all over the team. That really helps.”

You must be eagerly anticipating the U20s League Cup Final?

“It’s a big match which we’re really looking forward to. We are, of course, hoping to win it, but can expect a difficult game. It’s nice to have something like this to look forward to at the end of the season.”

You’ve been able to make a few first team appearances this season and also find the back of the net. That must be a good feeling?

“Yes, I’ve scored twice now for the first team. I got a goal in the League Cup Quarter-Final last season and scored my first Premier Division goal in the home match against Glenrothes. I’m hoping to push on and hopefully by working hard and maintaining good form there will be more opportunities into next season to play in the first team.”

Is there a big difference between U20s football and the first team?

“It’s a lot more intense. You never get a break in the first team against strong opposition with experienced players. It’s constant running. You have no opportunity to switch off. You do sometimes get a bit more leeway at U20s level, not that it’s easy though.”

Are you learning from the first team players?

“Getting to train with the first team players and learn from them is definitely a good thing. You can see the difference it makes. I don’t think that many other U20 players at clubs elsewhere get that opportunity, so it’s a real benefit at Haddington.”

Do you enjoy being part of Haddington Athletic?

“Yes, it’s a very well-run club. It has a good committee. As an U20 team we have had chances to play on the first team pitch at Millfield, which has been a good experience. There are opportunities for young players here. Some clubs do not look to young players in the same way as Haddington.”

What has been the highlight of your time as a footballer to date?

“In my last season at Portobello we won a treble – three cups, including a win over Hutchie Vale, who were a good side. Prior to that I hadn’t really won many trophies so it was a great season and fantastic to be a part of. Quite a few of the boys I played with came through to then play for Haddington.”

What do you do for a living and do you have other interests/hobbies?

“Football is the main thing which I have time for. I also do some coaching with Lochend in my spare time.”

Were there any footballers you particularly admired growing up?

“I support Hearts. I’m a left footer like Rudi Skacel so he was someone I looked up to. He was a prolific goal scorer.”