Local lad and Arbroath midfielder Scott Fullerton admits it is make or break next term if he’s to make the cut at Gayfield Park.
Having joined Arbroath three years ago from Raith Rovers, Fullerton has made steady progress through the youth ranks but boss Paul Sheerin has laid down the gauntlet.
Despite being selected for the Lloyds TSB Scotland Under-18s squad for the 2013 Centenary Shield, Fullerton has now been urged to make the step up to Arbroath’s senior team.
And, being one of the few youth prospects to be kept on beyond this summer, the 18-year-old believes he stands a great chance.
“I’ve signed an under-19 contract ahead of next season, I’m one of the few who have been kept on, quite a number have been released,” said Fullerton, who plays either left or right midfield.
“I’ve been training with the first-team squad a few times and I think I’ve really benefited from that. The boss is pleased with how I’m going.
“He was happy that I got into the Scotland side and he’s told me that this is the year I need to break into the first team.
“It’s up to him to pick me really, I’ll continue to try my best but this is my third season with Arbroath so it’s time to make an impact.”
Results could have been better in a Scotland shirt for Fullerton, they lost all four of their Centenary Shield games, but did restore some pride in a 1-1 friendly draw against New Zealand last month.
And Fullerton, who was one of the few bright sparks in the 3-1 defeat against England on April 12, believes he’ll be better for the experience.
“I think things went quite well for Scotland, I didn’t play as much as I would have liked, I only played three games in total, but it was great to be involved,” added Fullerton.
“I played the friendly against New Zealand and before that the games in the Centenary Shield against Wales and England.
“My best game came against England, which isn’t the worst game to have your best performance, but I played OK generally.
“There are definitely some things to learn, we needed to stick together when it gets tough a little more and learn how to bounce back from disappointment.”
Lloyds TSB Scotland, proud partner for the Scottish Schools’ FA, is delighted to support the Scotland U18 schoolboys squad for their 2013 Centenary Shield campaign. For all the latest squad news, visit scottishfa.co.uk/ssfa