Summer signing Mark McGovern made an instant impact at Millfield, scoring three goals in his first five matches with the Hi Hi’s. But an injury picked up in training kept Mark on the sidelines for a number of months. He recently returned to fitness and, in a number of U20 game outings, reminded supporters that he is set to be an asset to the first team going forward. Unfortunately, since being interviewed, Mark has sustained another injury, although it’s hoped he’ll be back in action again in the not too distant future.

He joined us after helping Edinburgh College to promotion from the Third Division – besides weighing in with his fair share of goals he struck a sensational winner at West Calder United in the College’s 4-3 win on 27 May in his final outing in their colours. Mark had been known to the club from playing against us previously with Heriot-Watt University and Tranent Juniors several seasons ago, while he also had a loan spell with Dunbar United while at Tranent.

Q. What appealed to you about Haddington Athletic?

“I was keen to get back into the top flight. I had bad luck with injuries a few years ago but got back playing with Edinburgh College as a student there. A college lecturer had set the team up. I did it from the perspective of getting fit and putting myself in the shop window.

“Scott (Bonar, Haddington manager) had spoken to me the season before, but nothing came to fruition at the time. But the second time we spoke, I felt I was ready to get back to the league and go from there. Also, Scott himself is a very good coach and my dad worked closely with him coaching previously. So, there was a good relationship with Scott and he is a good person. I was familiar with the club having played against Haddington a few times when I was at Tranent. My first game for Tranent was a derby against Haddington actually and I scored two! Millfield was always a good place to go with a great set up. A nice place to play. It’s a good, close-knit family club. It’s a result-based industry and that’s what everybody thinks about. But there is a lot more to it at Haddington – there are a lot of things happening in the community that is family orientated with the youth activities for example. The ethos and community roots of the club are important.”

Q. It was certainly a great start to the season for the team and for you personally?

“We got off to a flier. It was a really good start to the season. We won the first game although lost the second. In the away game against Kinnoull, I came off the bench and scored two. But I started to have injury problems.”

Q. It must have been a real setback?

“It was. It happened in the first week of September in training. I went to take a shot with the outside of my foot. It got stuck in the ground and my leg jerked. It was near enough a rupture of the quad. It’s taken five months to get back. It’s been a long road.”

Q. It must have been a difficult period being on the sidelines?

“You get into such a routine playing football – a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday is blocked out for football. Although I couldn’t play, I liked being around the boys and in the changing room environment. If you can’t play on a Saturday, it’s good to be around to help motivate the boys and get your thoughts across. It’s like having a contract at work. You want to still be there.”

Q. In recent weeks, you’ve been focusing on getting fit again. How has it gone?

“In my first training session, I did very simple passing drills to see how it was. I was still in contact with the physio I see personally and was speaking on and off. After around two weeks, I was able to progress to longer passing and striking the ball. After a few weeks, I said to Scott I wanted to play for the U20s. It’s a different kind of physicality to the first team but felt a good way of continuing the progression. It has been positive playing in the 20s. There was no reaction. It was disappointing to lose the first game I played, but the team has done well and I’ve scored some goals. I’m now looking forward to pushing on with the first team.”

Q. What are your hopes for the rest of the season?

“We need to focus on ourselves and finish as high up the table as we can. The league has been quite tight throughout the season. There’s not many points between second and mid-table. We need to take each game as it comes and focus on getting as high as we can.

“We need to be ruthless and clinical in front of goal and not ship as many. The aim at the start of the season was to challenge and it was looking likely after getting off to a good start – we were scoring goals for fun and not conceding many. But injuries then hit us and it became more challenging squad depth wise. Next season we want to be pushing on to win the league and challenging for cups.”

Q. What has been your greatest achievement as a footballer?

“I had a fantastic experience in a football tournament when I played for Hibs U13s at Garda. We were playing against AC Milan. They had 12-year-old boys with embroidered suits and we were scooting about in Puma tracksuits looking as though we were on holiday – and we ended up beating them 1-0! Every other team then became our best friends. Juventus loved us! I would also say getting promoted last year with Edinburgh College and winning the King Cup with Tranent were achievements I’m proud of.”

Q. Was there a particular player you admired growing up?

“Garry O’Connor. My dad played with Hibs previously and we went every Saturday. I can relate to how Garry O’Connor played. He was a typical No 9 who could hold the ball up effectively. Quite similar to me in some ways. Him and Derek Riordan were good players for Hibs and an effective partnership.”

Q. Do you play other sports or have other interests?

“Golf. I play with quite a few of the boys in the team on Sundays. I’m a member down at Longniddry. I like anything outdoors. I like to be an active person. I’m not really one for sitting still.”

Q. What do you do for a living?

“I work for Standard Life as a risk consultant. I’ve been doing that for three years now. I deal with data protection and regulators.”