Striker Chris Templeman has said he could not have wished for a better way to end his career than to clinch the League Two title with Montrose.
The 37-year-old, from Glenrothes, announced his retirement shortly after the club’s 1-1 draw with Elgin City, which ended their 21-year stay in the bottom rung of Scottish football and gave them their first piece of silverware in 33 years.
Templeman has won titles with Brechin City, Greenock Morton and East Fife, but he says winning the league was the perfect way to hang up his boots and one that trumps the rest of his triumphs.
He told the Gazette: “It’s a good way to finish my career, it couldn’t have been any better.
“I couldn’t go on next year playing at a decent level. I’ve won a few titles but I would probably say this is the best one. The bunch of team-mates I’ve got are probably the best I have ever played with – there’s not a bad guy among the 23 players.
“They are all really good guys, which is kind of unusual for a changing room. Winning titles means a lot, that’s why you play football and you do pre-season.
"You want to go on and win things, and this is the best thing that we could win. I’m delighted, and I think the boys will be delighted with a few derbies next year.”
Templeman admitted that even the excitement of winning another league title could not reverse his decision to quit a career spanning over two decades.
The towering centre-forward has scored 11 goals in 43 appearances for the club this season and concedes it has been a gruelling campaign.
He said: “For a while I have been struggling. I’m not the most mobile of players, there is only so long you can stand up and not feel guilty about the other ten running about more than you. The gaffer been really good with me.
“A lot of managers would have said when they came in,' you’re a 37-year-old, I’m not needing you'. But he gave me a chance and I’ve really enjoyed working with him.
“I played with him briefly at Dunfermline and he was a great player and hopefully he will go on to become a great manager.
“He’s given the boys confidence and that is probably the biggest thing in football. If you believe you’re going to win then you are 90 per cent of the way.”
The Montrose team lapped up the adulation in front of a bumper crowd of 2380 at Links Park. The team were presented with the trophy after the game and enjoyed the celebrations with the fans.
Templeman admitted he had never seen a crowd quite like it at Montrose.
“No, not since I’ve been here anyway," he said. "When you see everyone here, it’s brilliant, and they even stayed around for another hour after the game was finished, which is amazing as well.”
Templeman conceded it wasn’t their best performance but was just glad to get over the line.
He said: “It looked for a while like it might not be our day. The goalie made a couple of good saves early on. We were kind of nervy the way we played. I don’t think we played that well but it doesn’t really matter.”