Dumbarton new boy Denny Johnstone wants to put a “horrible” few years behind him with a fresh start under mentor Jim Duffy.
The big striker joined the Sons last weekend after leaving Falkirk and now he’s keen to consign three seasons of injury hell to the past.
Johnstone was one of the most in-form players in the lower leagues after scoring 17 times for Jim Duffy’s Morton in the 2015/16 campaign whilst on loan from Birmingham City.
His form saw him secure a permanent move to English League Two side Colchester, however the move turned sour when he tore his knee cartilage in a game against Accrington Stanley in 2017.
Since then the 25-year-old has endured injury laden stints at St Johnstone, Morton and Falkirk, as well as a brief loan spell with Stranraer – however he now believes that lockdown has given his body time to recover, as he targets a return to the scoring charts under Duffy’s stewardship once more.
Speaking to the Lennox, Denny said: “The move came about very quickly, it had been a while since any of us had played and Jim phoned me up just to check how I was doing after my injury struggles. I told him that the lockdown had helped and I was feeling good about things, and it all just came from there.
“The time I had at Morton with him was the best I’d had in football, he was really good for me.
“He has an understanding of the kind of player I am, the sort of formation that suits me, how to play to my strengths. That sort of thing.
“The past few years since then have been horrible with the injury, even when I did play I wasn’t enjoying it because I didn’t do myself justice. The whole situation just left me feeling a bit down.
“Lockdown has definitely helped that. Everybody has been missing football, but rest is such an undervalued thing for rehab.
“Just now I’m feeling all good. Obviously we’ve not gone back to training yet or anything like that, but I think it has helped me.”
Having spent his entire career as a full-time pro, Johnstone is now preparing for life off the pitch – and he’s optimistic that a part-time environment, and linking up with former teammates could help him rediscover his form.
He continued: “Part-time football is something that could suit me, training just twice a week will give my body that extra time to recover. I’m also set to join the police in the coming months.
“It’ll be great to have guys like Ross (Forbes), Stefan (McCluskey) around me again, they were big players whilst I was at Morton. I’ve stayed in touch with Ross especially since I left, so it’ll be good to be back back playing with him again.”
And with the fixtures now published ahead of the big kick off in October, Denny is remaining focused on his own goals.
He added: “From the team’s point-of-view we are keen to get right up the table and challenge for the playoffs, but on a personal level I’m very much one of these players who takes things one game at a time.”