Sheffield United: When Stefan Scougall won supermarket sweep
Bottom of the table after four matches? Nae bother.
Stefan Scougall, who believes Sheffield United will shortly begin fulfilling their potential, is just glad to be playing football at all.
“For me, to be involved in this business every day is just brilliant,” he says.
“I’ll never take it for granted because, if things had worked out differently, I could easily have been out there on the roads. That’s why I work my b***s off every single time I’m out there. You never know what’s around the corner after all.”
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For ‘out there on the roads’ read a job with Edinburgh City Council’s Highways Department. Scougall, demonstrating the strength of character and purpose Chris Wilder’s side require to arrest their poor run of form, once feared he was destined to earn a living digging holes rather than destroying defenders after being released by Hibernian as a youngster.
Before, as his presence in the squad which hosts Oxford United tomorrow demonstrates, proving his critics at Easter Road wrong.
“When I was at Hibs, I was released for being too small,” Scougall, speaking at the Steelphalt Academy earlier this week, continued.
“So I got a job at Sainsburys and applied to become a road worker alongside my dad. I was on the checkouts starting at 6am every morning so things are a little bit different now.”
“The job was good because it provided me with a little bit of money,” Scougall continued.
“I was part-time with Dunfermline Athletic at the time. I was fortunate enough to get the chance to go professional with Livingston and everything went from there.”
Scougall has spent 10 years battling and ultimately beating the odds. So, despite admitting the League One table does not make pleasant reading, he is not ready to dismiss United’s promotion prospects only four matches into a new campaign.
Scottish FA Cup winner Brian Welsh handed Scougall his big break at Almondvale before Bramall Lane came calling 31 months ago. But the managers and coaches who overlooked his talents, including Wilder’s predecessor Nigel Adkins, are responsible for shaping the 23-year-old personality and career.
“Brian was great with me,” Scougall said.
“I’d been on so many trials and was always getting knocked back because of my height. Mind you, the more I never got picked up, the more determined it made me to prove people wrong.”
United enter the meeting with Oxford 24th place after losing three of their first four matches this term.
Scougall, who expected to leave Bramall Lane after being loaned to Fleetwood Town last season, was granted a reprieve following Wilder’s appointment during the close season and scored during the defeat by Millwall last weekend.
“The start isn’t ideal but confidence is an issue,” Scougall said. “We didn’t look short of it down there.”