From scoring in the lowest league of junior football to sending Queen’s Park through to the Irn-Bru Challenge Cup quarter-finals, 18-year-old Euan East is flying high right now
From a young age, Euan fell in love with football. Spending most of his days kicking a ball about in the park with his Dad. At just 5 years old, he joined St Peters Boys Club but only spent the best of 6 months playing there before getting snatched up by Scottish Premiership side St Mirren. Euan is known for his pace and strength on the ball up front always causing a threat for defenders, but at the start of his young career, this wasn’t the case. For his first year at St Mirren, the teenager started off playing left-back.
“I didn’t enjoy playing left-back to be honest! I didn’t play there for long because it’s not somewhere I thought I could achieve my full potential. I was then lucky enough to be moved further up the pitch where I started playing striker or anywhere in the front line.”
Euan’s dream has always been to be a successful professional footballer. He spent 12 years at the Paisley club and during that time he was accepted into the Holyrood performance school at 11-years-old. This would only seem to better his game and assist him closer to his dream.
“It was a brilliant few years for me at Holyrood, to be able to play football majority of my time was a dream. It improved my game massively and boosted my confidence. It made me more independent and prepared me for the future”
Euan always believed in his own ability and knew he could break through and make it onto the big stage at St Mirren. But, unfortunately at 17 years of age he picked up a worrying injury and knew it was time up at St Mirren. For mostplayers that spend most of their life playing professional youth football, this would be the end. But, his impressive determination didn’t stop him from playing the game that he still loved.
The Paisley born 18-year-old went on to sign for bottom league junior side Johnstone Burgh.
He aimed to strengthen up his game and learn the dirty side of it too before he thought of trying to give his hopeful dream another crack.
“I think a change at this time was good, I was still young and going to juniors was a good move because they helped me get more aggressive as that’s one thing you need to get because you really can’t get away without protecting yourself in this game”
Euan had a notable time at Burgh, managing to score bags of goals in just under a dozen games. A lot of the credit had to go to manager Jamie McKim who signed the striker, he was key to Euan’s success at the club.
“Jamie was a dream to play for, for a junior team you wouldn’t expect how professional it was, people think juniors is a joke when it’s really not. Every time I went there it was intense training and it he was always professional in the way he went about everything. He was alwaysprepared for games. He threw me in the deep end and that’s something I’ve benefited from.”
Jamie McKim was also keen to comment on East’s time at the club:
“Euan was a pleasure to work with last season, his ability and attitude made him a real top player for us. When he first came in, I could see the ability instantly, but, could also see there was certain improvements he could make to push him on further in the game. His hold up play, the use of his body were the two main parts he had to work on, which he did brilliantly. Now he is reaping the rewards of his hard work, and it’s great to see.”
Euan’s performances at junior level weren’t unnoticed as a number of clubs were keen to add him to their squad. He then soon went on to sign for Queen’s Park after impressing in a friendly against Motherwell. He started off in the reserves but it wasn’t too long until first team coach at the time Gus Mcpherson gave the teenager his first start for the Spiders.
I didn’t get a lot of Gus, I only trained and play under him for about 3 weeks. But, during thattime he was superb. He knows the game well and has been involved in it for years, he was at St Mirren before and now he’s away back so he knows how to win games. I am very grateful for the opportunity he gave me.”
Soon after his first appearance, Gus McPherson decided to leave Queens Park and return to St Mirren leaving Mark Roberts in charge of the first team. Euan has excelled under his management and is now regularly getting game time for the club.
“The new gaffer was a former striker himself so he gives me a lot of good tips on how to improve my game and he understands how to play the ugly side of the game”
Queen’s Park drew St Mirren in the Scottish Challenge Cup 3rd Round in October and it was a great opportunity for the Scottish teenager to make a name for himself. Euan came on with 20 minutes to go and managed to make an immediate impact scoring the winner in 80th minute to make it 3-2 and send his team through to the Quarter-Finals.
“That feeling has got to be up there with one of the best in my life, not only for scoring my first senior goal but also to help the team progress into the next stage of the cup.”
After thinking his career was possibly over, East has been able to turn his experience from a setback into a positive. In the most important part of his career and impressing day by day, surely only things can get better for the teenager?
“Hopefully one day I can make it to the highest of levels but at the moment I am just enjoying my football at Queen’s Park and that’s all I’m thinking about right now.”