Dumbarton skipper Mark Durnan: "The backing from fans is unbelievable"

***Must credit Phil Dawson*** Mark Durnan, captain of Dumbarton FC for 2023/24 season
Skipper Mark Durnan is looking forward to battling for a place in League One against Spartans. -Credit:Phil Dawson

Skipper Mark Durnan has called on Sons fans to be their 12th man in the playoff final.

Stevie Farrell’s men take on Spartans tonight (Tuesday) at The Rock - with Durnan hailing the Sons support for helping their side to hold Stirling Albion in Saturday’s tense semi-final, and book a spot in the shootout for League One.

Vinny, as Durnan is known, told the Lennox: “The backing was unbelievable from the fans. For the first 10 or 15 minutes of the second-half Stirling were all over us. The crowd got right behind us. It was fantastic and amazing to hear.

“Hopefully we can now give them something to shout about over the next two games.

“Getting the clean sheet was the key. We knew if we were solid and kept a clean sheet then we’d be through. When you get the home advantage in the first tie that’s something that is vital.

“We knew they’d come out and have a go in the second-half. They changed shape and it caught us out a bit and caused us a few problems. But we showed a side to us that was resilient, resolute and put our bodies on the line. That’s what has got us to the final.”

Spartans 2-6 Dumbarton (SPFL League Two, 16 March 2024): Mark Durnan was solid as he continued his return from injury.
Mark's first win after returning from injury came against The Spartans in March. -Credit:Lennox Herald

Durnan spent five months as a frustrated spectator as injury ruled him out of action between October and March, but after returning to the side Sons have kept six clean sheets and lost just twice in the 11 matches he’s played in.

And he believes the blend of youth and experience has been the key to that form - with Durnan partnering fellow veteran Sean Crighton in a Sons defence featuring youngsters Jay Hogarth and Gallagher Lennon.

The former Dundee United man continued: “It was disappointing to miss a period with the injury.

Dumbarton 0-3 St Mirren (11 July 2023): Mark Durnan
Durnan has been a rock for the Sons this season. -Credit:Phil Dawson

“When you’re younger you can be over-keen, and it’s important for players like myself and Sean (Crighton) to take a step back and oversee the game. We have a solid foundation and we need to continue that against Spartans to come out on top. If we do that then we’ll be in League One next year.

“Once we knew that Stenhousemuir were going to win the league this became our focus. Finding a side that could get to the playoffs and grind out results in the four matches. We’ve done it twice, now we have to re-focus, re-energise and go again against Spartans.”