As footballers go, Sean Dillon is not among the most superstitious.
By the time the final whistle went in Montrose’s win at Annan on Tuesday night to set up a Scottish Cup fourth-round clash with his beloved Dundee United, he was beginning to wonder if it was written in the stars.
Because while he believes, in the end, the Gable Endies were worthy winners of their tie against the League Two outfit, the 35-year-old is honest enough to admit fate played it’s part.
“Looking back over the two games of the tie, I have to say it has crossed my mind that us getting through to face United was meant to be,” laughed the former Tangerines skipper.
“In the first game, up at Links Park last Saturday, I felt we were the better team and deserved to win on the day but with almost the very last kick of the game Annan had an effort that came out off the inside of the post.
“It was one of those you expect to go in but, for some reason, this time it didn’t and, thankfully, we made the most of that by getting through the replay on Tuesday.”
If Montrose were deserved winners of a thrilling second game that saw them race into a 4-0 first-half lead before conceding three in the second half and having to hang on for the final few minutes, again “Dillo” admits there were moments when he felt securing that dream tie with United was meant to be.
“In fairness, Annan started better but we got into our stride after 10 minutes or so and then took the lead.
“That was just before the 20-minute mark from a penalty. We scored three more in the next 10 minutes or so and by half-time we could have had a few more.
“As well as we played, I’m still thinking were we just meant to win this one. I thought the penalty was a penalty but it was another one of those that, on another day, the ref will wave play on.
“Then Martyn Fotheringham has scored with an unbelievable effort that, at other times, doesn’t go in and Andrew Steeves charges the ball down from a clearance to get our fourth. That’s another one where the ball could have bounced differently and we don’t score.
“On top of that, they gave it a real go with three goals in the second half and right at the end they missed a great chance to equalise.
“Don’t get me wrong, we’ve played well and were worth the win but things might have been different.”
Professional as ever, Sean’s focus is now on Montrose’s trip to East Fife on Saturday for a vital League One clash.
He concedes, though, January 19 at Links Park is now a big date in his diary.
“There’s a lot of football to be played between now and then and a lot of work for us to do, but of course this game is going to be special for me,” he added.
“When we were coming back up the road on Tuesday I had a text from my Ma saying that’s Christmas sorted. She wants tickets for the game, so no one else needs to bother asking me – if she wants them, she gets them!
“And when I got up yesterday it was all my young lad Shay was speaking about. He’s a still a United fan and has a Montrose kit as well but I’m not sure which one he’ll be wearing in January.”
Sean’s also steeling himself for plenty banter when he takes his regular coaching classes as head of the Skilz Academy.
“We’ve a few United fans there, so I know it’s going to get mentioned a bit. That’s nice but, like I say, for me and the rest of the lads at Montrose there is business to be taken care of.”
That said, he is planning a spying mission to Tannadice tonight to run the rule over his old team as they clash with Ayr.
“I’ve not been for a while and it is a chance to do some early homework!”