Rossvale skipper Jamie Hunter says his side’s title triumph was made extra-special by the presence of his best mate as vice-captain.
Hunter returned to Rossvale last summer after a year at Rutherglen Glencairn after having his ear bent constantly by fellow Vale man Kirk Forbes.
And it proved a wise decision as the reunited friends helped steer the Bishopbriggs side to the Central Division 1 title and promotion to the new-look Super League Championship.
Former Rob Roy man Hunter said: “For the full season I was away Kirky was hounding me that I’d made the wrong decision going to Glencairn and I should come back.
“At the end of last season I had a sit down with Kirky and Gints [then manager Brian McGinty] and he was nipping my head to come back and try and win the league with your best mate.
“And when it happened it was the best feeling I’ve had in football.”
It’s not just Hunter and Forbes who get on well though. Both agree that the team spirit among the whole squad was a vital part of their success.
Forbes said: “When you go on a title winning run the stuff off the park’s really important. We’re a tight bunch on and off the park.
“We go for Friday lunches, we have nights out where they guys have got to go and that’s definitely helped us.”
Jamie said that manager Gordon Moffat’s decision to switch formations after taking over from McGinty in November was also key for Vale who lost three of their first seven games but just one of the remaining 21.
He said: “When Moff came in straight away he tightened up the back line. That was a platform for us to build on and allowed our front players to create and score goals.
“Our strengths were the wide guys Liam McGonigle and Gary Giffin and once we got them on the ball we knew they were going to cause teams problems.”
The title-winning match itself was bitter sweet for the pair. While Forbes got both goals in the 2-1 win over Port Glasgow, Hunter had to sit out the last quarter after being red-carded.
But Forbes said: “Unfortunately he got sent off in the final game but it’s probably fitting that he passed me the armband and I scored the winner.
“For him to come back at the start of the season and have the discussion of ‘imagine winning the league together’ and then for it actually to happen was just incredible for the two of us, as well as for the whole team and the club.
“When I first joined Rossvale Jamie was big part of it. We just had that special bond off the park and became best mates.
“As much as we’ve got a special bond we argue like husband and wife, that’s just what we are like.
“But him to come back in and be captain and me be his vice-captain and the way the last game went it’s just been a fairytale for the two of us and will live with us for ever.”