Sunderland loan star Andrew Nelson: Huge crowd showed me Falkirk means a lot

Andy Nelson signed for Falkirk and made his debut at Dunfermline. Picture Michael Gillen.
Andy Nelson signed for Falkirk and made his debut at Dunfermline. Picture Michael Gillen.

Striker Andrew Nelson says the turnout of Falkirk fans at Dunfermline blew him away – and he’s determined to mirror their passion on the pitch.

The Bairns made up a healthy proportion of the 7140 crowd at East End Park, and roared the team on to the park – even for the warm-up.

It was Nelson’s first experience of Scottish football and he was distinctly impressed with the standards and the backing given and threw himself into action.

His first move was to clatter Pars goalkeeper Lee Robinson after four minutes of the powderkeg clash – which sparked a welcome response from the away end.

He told The Falkirk Herald: “I’ll always give 100 per cent no matter what – i love playing football and no matter where I am I’ll always give my all. I’ll always fight, I’ll always put myself about and try to do something to affect the match.

“It was some game to be involved in – I’d been warned by the lads how fiery it would be and it didn’t disappoint, but we haven’t come out on top and that’s put a downer on it. Nonetheless it was a great experience to make my debut.

“The amount of fans blew me away when I first went out onto the pitch.

“I was really taken aback by the club taking so many through. The fact there were more Falkirk fans than home before the game said a lot. I was pleased with that, it shows how much football means to the club and fans and I want to do my best for them while I’m here.”

Nelson’s loan from Sunderland is the striker’s third and will last until the end of the season, but it almost didn’t start as a paperwork delay on New Year’s Day had him on edge until his registration was processed just four hours before kick-off.

He added: “We set up in training the day before but then there was a call at night saying there was a delay at the FA, so we had to wait. After the papers came through it was simply ‘mind on the game’.

“I just wanted to make the best of it. Every loan is an experience and I need to take as much as I can from them to further my career.

“Hartlepool was my first move, in League Two, and I was buzzing to get out there and do what I needed to do.

“It didn’t work out how I wanted – I damaged my medial ligament in my knee after four games so that was my season over. Then I spent some time at Harrogate because I needed a physical challenge as well as senior football and it worked wonders. When I got back I was a lot more physical in myself and caught the eye of Falkirk, so it did well for me.

“Paul Hartley saw me against Swansea under-23s and was impressed so that was a good sign.

“Senior football is massively different from under-23s. At senior you have to give everything, but you do give your all in 23s but when 200 people turn up to a game it doesn’t have the edge and the atmosphere of the senior games.

“When I came up here, I didn’t know what to make of it because I didn’t watch much Scottish football but it’s good. The quality is there, there’s qualities in the players and teams and now it’s about me showing my qualities, kicking on and getting Falkirk where we want to be.”

Nelson is Paul Hartley’s fifth signing after loan deals for Reghan Tumilty and Louis Longridge, and the six-month contracts given to Sean Welsh and Tommy Robson.

Conrad Balatoni has not been offered an extension to his four-month deal.