Elgin City winger Conor O’Keefe shunned offers from closer to home to be part of a Borough Briggs team targeting the League Two title.
The 22-year-old, who lives and works in Renfrewshire, this week signed a one-year extension with the Moray club, keeping him in City colours until next summer.
After missing out on the promotion play-off final after losing a late goal in a 3-2 aggregate defeat to old foes Edinburgh City, boss Gavin Price has dealt in Archie Macphee and Darryl McHardy, as well as snapping up defender Creag Little.
Being wanted by Price and to be part of a title-pressing squad was enough to convince ex-St Mirren starlet O’Keefe to sign up once more.
Aiming higher with team-mates signed up
He explained: “I had a few offers closer to home, but given how well we did last season, working with the gaffer, we can go a step further next season.
SIGNING NEWS ✍️
We are pleased to announce winger Conor O’keefe has signed a contract extension which will see him extend his stay until Summer 2022 🤩
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) May 19, 2021
“We’ve signed up almost the whole squad, so it’s looking good for next year.
“The travelling was tough last season. I thought about that, but the gaffer got in touch (to offer the deal) and I felt this was too good an opportunity to throw away.
“I get on well with all the boys and the gaffer. I’ve been here for two years and we’ve finished third both times. I think we’ve shown that we’re a strong team and we’ve kept most of our players, so we have to be aiming higher than third.”
“I signed up for another year, so we can have a really good crack at it, try and go for the league.”
Elgin target end to Edinburgh hoodoo
Elgin have not beaten Edinburgh in their last 11 meetings, with that play-off semi-final loss the latest sore one to take.
Gary Naysmith’s capital club will again by in League Two next term after being edged out 3-2 on aggregate against Dumbarton on Wednesday.
Lowland League champions Kelty Hearts hope to replace Brechin City in the fourth tier on Sunday by winning their pyramid play-off and are leading 2-1 from the first leg.
O’Keefe is eager to help City finally get the better of Edinburgh to help them drive towards title glory in 2022.
He explained: “Even in the last game, we did more than enough to get through the tie. We more than matched them over the home and away legs and we were just a bit unlucky.
“We maybe could have managed the game a bit better, but the foundations are there to go all the way next time.
“Our games against Edinburgh were all really similar. We are often the better team, but they seemed to get a one-goal victory or a draw.
“We can’t get beat them, but, given how close we’ve come, I’m sure the victory over them is coming.”
Raising the goal rate is target for winger
After netting just four goals last term, O’Keefe is eyeing more starts and goals when the action gets under way.
He added: “I started off the season really well and scored a few goals and had a few assists then I fell out of the team a wee bit, but I got back in at the very end.
“I’m going to come back even fitter. I am going give myself the best chance of getting into the team, go for more goals and we can start off strongly.”