Brian MartinRecent signing Brian Martin has revealed that he was on the verge of quitting football after former club Musselburgh Athletic’s Scottish Junior Cup final defeat last June.

The 30-year-old was part of a side including current teammates Robert Wilson and Graeme Beveridge, as well as ex-‘Gers men Darren Smith and Lewis Turner, that went down 2-1 to Auchinleck Talbot, with Martin ready to throw the towel in after years of playing at that level without being given the opportunity to progress further at an SPFL club.

“To be honest, I was on the verge of quitting the game last year,” he admitted. “We got beat in the Scottish Junior Cup final and I said, ‘that’s me’. I missed the first eight games of this season before playing again. I came back in, played well, and that’s when John came in for me.

“Playing at this level is something I’ve always aspired to do but I’ve never been handed the chance, more so with the closer to 30 I’ve got. Nobody wanted to take a gamble on me around the ages of 24, 25, 26, yet I always had people telling me that I could go to the next level.”

Given the way that Martin has settled into the Berwick team, playing in a variety of positions, it may come as some surprise that he’s never played in the SPFL. And he feels he’s made the transition from junior football very smoothly, especially considering the packed fixture schedule the ‘Gers have had to endure recently.

“I feel like I’ve come in and done well – I don’t feel like I’ve had a bad game,” he said. “The pitches are bigger so you get a lot more time on the ball making the game more clear, which plays to my strengths.

John Coughlin“When I was at Musselburgh, I played in every single position apart from goalkeeper and in my first game here I think I played in three different positions. My height’s a big strength for me and I’m pretty quick over the ground as well.”

Martin made his Berwick debut as a trialist in the 1-0 defeat at East Fife on January 9 and, in less than two months, has impressed manager John Coughlin enough for him to be given the following label in recognition of his versatility.

“I’m hoping Brian can become Mr Dependable for us and hopefully he can continue to perform the way he has started his Berwick career,” said Coughlin. “In a short number of games, he’s played at left-back, centre-back and in midfield so he’s giving us that flexibility that you need from players coming into a football club at this level.”

By Martin Inglis