MUSSELBURGH-born Michael McKenna has compared the possibility of Arbroath FC reaching the Scottish Premiership to Musselburgh Athletic doing the same.

Part-time Arbroath exceeded all expectations in pushing full-time Kilmarnock, only relegated from the top flight last year, to the penultimate game of the season.

Arbroath might yet have their fairytale ending, however, as they face either Inverness Caledonian Thistle or Partick Thistle in the first leg of the play-offs on Tuesday evening.

McKenna, who also scooped the PFA Championship Player of the Year Award at the weekend, has been a key component of Dick Campbell’s side, which also features Port Seton’s Liam Henderson.

He said: “Imagine what it would be like for Musselburgh to win the league and be playing in the Premiership.

“That’s what it means to Arbroath.

“About 25,000 people stay in Arbroath and they are getting crowds of 3,000 to 4,000 – it is probably a fifth or a sixth of the town going to the game, which is crazy.

“It would be making history for starters.

“All the players would probably go down in the Hall of Fame at Arbroath.

“For me as well, to do it so late my career, it would be amazing.”

McKenna finished the division’s top scorer with 15 goals and picked up the national award ahead of team-mate Tom O’Brien, Partick Thistle’s Scott Tiffoney, and Kilmarnock’s Kyle Lafferty.

The 31-year-old, who works as an electrician, admitted that he had not expected the success.

He said: “I’m very happy and surprised.

“I probably did not realise how big a deal it was until the awards night on Saturday.

“I was seeing famous legends of the Scottish game coming up and speaking to me.

“It was quite overwhelming and all the messages I have had as well.

“I am absolutely delighted to win that and my name will always be there now.”

Many had tipped Arbroath to struggle this campaign in a division featuring five clubs who have played in the top flight in the last 10 years.

However, they topped the table for much of early 2022 and would have gone back to the summit with victory over Kilmarnock in the title showdown at the end of last month.

McKenna and his team recovered from that 2-1 loss to defeat Greenock Morton on Saturday, with the Musselburgh midfielder again finding the net.

He said: “A lot of people say we have achieved what we wanted and that we overachieved but we still want to win.

“If you get beat, you don’t say ‘it’s fine, we overachieved’.

“We are here now and we have got as much chance as anybody.”

It is not the first time that McKenna, who attended Loretto RC Primary School, has played in the Scottish Championship.

He previously made the step up from hometown club Musselburgh Athletic to Livingston in 2014.

McKenna revealed: “I did feel out of my depth a little bit at Livingston. It was too big a jump but also a move I could not turn down.

“You could argue the league was better then than now because there were Hibs, Hearts and Rangers, and that was part of the reason that I moved.

“My game has totally changed since then.

“I relied on my pace then and coming up from Musselburgh I was finding it difficult to make an impact on the game, whereas now I am playing in my more favoured central position rather than out wide.

“You get more experience and you are more mature as a player and make more of the right decisions.”