Stefan Scougall believes his decision to join Sheffield United has been vindicated by their presence in the League One play-offs, writes James Shield.
The former Scotland under-21 international has appeared in the semi-finals of both major domestic knockout competitions since arriving at Bramall Lane 16 months ago and, speaking ahead of tonight’s meeting with Swindon Town, he told The Star their progress under Nigel Clough underlines he was right to choose United over a host of rival clubs.
“Sheffield United were the biggest club who were interested in me,” Scougall, previously of Livingston, said. “Right now it shows I made the right choice, that’s been proven.
“When I joined, maybe we were in a relegation battle but I knew, my agent knew and everyone knew what kind of potential this club has. Hopefully we can fulfil some of that this season and get back into the Championship. All the fans are desperate for it and we want to make them happy by doing it.”
United can take a step towards achieving that aim this evening when they host Swindon in the first leg of a double-header set to decide who meets Chesterfield or Preston North End in the divisional showpiece at Wembley on May 24.
Scougall scored at the national stadium during last season’s FA Cup semi-final against Hull City and was a member of the squad which also gave Tottenham Hotspur a huge scare at the same stage of this term’s Capital One Cup.
“The big games have always kind of brought out a good performance in us,” he continued. “Nine times out of ten, we’ve had a positive result, so hopefully we can do that again against Swindon.
“No one can really put their finger on why, it’s just the way it is. Hopefully we can continue.”
United visit the County Ground on Monday and Scougall added: “If you’re going to have a good team, you’ve got to have players who can step up. I think the gaffer has worked to build that in the squad and there’s a sense of togetherness and boys who can step up to the plate in here.”
Clough, the United manager, admitted play-off football can be torture for those involved during his media briefing at the Redtooth Academy earlier this week but Scougall said: “We’re looking forward to it. There’s an excitement and buzz, we can’t wait.
“All the boys are looking forward to it. Excitement’s been building and it kind of reminds us, the boys who were here, of last year and the build-up to the Hull game. Hopefully we can do it on Thursday and get back to Wembley.”