A LONG-TERM vision to provide a foundation and pathway for talented young footballers at Haddington Athletic is already paying off, according to the club’s manager.

The Hi Hi are enjoying an impressive season in the top flight of the East of Scotland Football League (EoSFL) and are on course to beat last season’s points total.

At the same time, the club’s under-20s side sits fifth in the East Region of the East of Scotland Development League and will move top if they win their games in hand.

Scott Bonar, manager of the first team, was confident that the foundations were being put in place to ensure future success.

He said: “It is really hard for us to compete with other teams.

“What we have got is our pitch is outstanding.

“The surface rivals anything maybe in the leagues above and into the professional leagues.

“We have got a great committee, we have got great training facilities and hopefully the players like the coaching.

East Lothian Courier: Haddington Athletic manager Scott Bonar.Haddington Athletic manager Scott Bonar.

“What we have got to do is create an environment where it is like a family and everybody is welcome so there is a succession.

“What I want is to have three players for each position – a first-team player, an under-20s player and an under-17s player.

“Then there is a succession coming through and I know everybody coming through the under-20s and under-17s.”

Haddington finished last season’s league campaign on 47 points after 30 games.

Currently, they remain on course to better that tally as they battle to challenge Broxburn Athletic at the top of the standings.

Bonar, who took the helm at Millfield when Joe Hamill left for Musselburgh Athletic in 2021, said: “I think we are in a better place, we are a better team.

“There are a lot of youngsters emerging as well and they have got that year’s experience.

“We have lost players to injury as well but I am not citing that as a reason. We have had key players missing in key positions but the beauty of that is it has made me look at the under-20s coming through.



“We are only five points off second and this time last year we were miles away from that.

“We are right in there.”

However, the manager also recognised the need for improvement on the pitch.

On five occasions this term, the county side have lost by a single goal in a league contest. Drawing each of those games would have been enough to lift Bonar and his team into a share of second spot.

He told Courier Sport: “It is fine margins.

“It is not like in those games we have lost we have been hanging on.

“We have been the better team for large portions of the game.

“When we are on top we are not taking our chances and they have broken away or had possession and got a goal.

“Against Sauchie, we should have been 3-1 or 4-1 up at half-time and we drew with Penicuik 1-1 and it could have been 5-1 or 6-1 and you would not bat an eyelid.

“Chances in the six-yard box have to be taken and we have to start being more ruthless but the players are aware of that.”