Davie Larter by Neil Cameron
Reproduced from the Montrose v Aberdeen 125th Anniversary Match Programme
DAVIE LARTER is quick to tell you that he had plenty of bad games for Montrose. Funny thing is, nobody can really remember too many of them. If you are a Montrose fan then you'll not need to be told just how important this man was to this football club for an incredible 12 years. Between 1987 and 1999, Larter saved his team-mates on too many occasions to recount. The fact he is heralded by many as the finest keeper the club ever had should not come as any surprise. Well to everyone except him. Self-deprecating to the last, Larter was one who always seemed happier when the limelight was turned on someone else.
I personally recall a time during the promotion season of 1994/95 when he was rewarded by supporters for his years of service and he almost seemed astounded to receive the accolade. Yet, he is deserved of all the praise in the world. To play part-time football for 12 years with just one club is a remarkable achievement. All that hassle, time and energy spent for the love of the club. It was hardly for all the millions he made.
However, Larter would not swap any of it and is delighted that in the 125th year of Montrose Football Club his name is still one which tops any list of the club's greatest players. Larter said:
"The club meant and still means so much to me. "I actually played with them once in 1984 and then again two years later, but then I signed, got into the team and that was that. "I signed a two-year deal, then another one, then another one and all of a sudden it was ten years. Thinking back it flew by. "It was a great time in my life. I loved travelling up and down the country, playing against all sorts of players who I admired. There were so many good times. I had a ball.
"When Bryan Keith came to the club things started to really take off. They were really exciting times and I felt that we were really going places. "Jim Leishman came in and we were in the papers a lot. Well, a lot for a club like Montrose and it was hard not to get carried away with it all. "Ivo den Bieman came over from Holland and nobody knew what to make of it all, but he was a great player for us. The fans loved him and he's still a hero in Montrose. "We had some success but it never really took off the way I imagined it would. "However, when you go to Links Park now and take a look around that main stand you can see why there was so much excitement at the time because the facilities would look good in any league."
But it is on the field where Larter's memories are the most vivid. He said:
"The two promotion seasons are obvious highlights. The end to the 1991season was unforgettable. We had to win at Queen of the South on the last day of the season to go up and we managed that. "It was tense and exciting and at the end I don't think I've ever felt so shattered after a game because there was so much riding on the 90 minutes.
"The 1994/95 campaign was great as well. We had some decent players like Innes McDonald and Ian Robertson to name just two. Really good pros who hardly had a bad game that season. "Colin McGlashan was a cut above, a natural goalscorer who tucked them away from all angles. "We played Falkirk in the Coca-Cola Cup and took them to penalties and gave Hibs a great game in the Scottish Cup. We were always up there in the league and then had a wobble and I think some of the supporters began to worry. "But we were unbeaten in our last ten league games, winning eight of them. That was probably the best side I played in because there were some cracking footballers in the team."
However, if there is one game which stands out it is the match at Parkhead where he lost six goals. Larter said: "As soon as we drew Celtic in the Scottish Cup back in 1992, it was one of those games I just knew we would remember forever. "I'm afraid a shock was never on the cards and if Celtic had won 26-0 rather than just by six goals then we couldn't really have complained. "I played well that day. I made some decent saves and couldn't really do anything about their goals. It was Celtic, after all. "Jim Leishman was the manager then and loved all the hype which got through to the players. It's great to say that I played at Celtic Park and had a good game."
There are just too many times to recall when Larter looks back on his 12 years at Links Park. Unfortunately he left with a bad taste in his mouth after the chance to become assistant manager fell through, but there is no animosity. Montrose mean too much for him. He said:
"I'm not one for holding grudges. I'll be up for the dinner and while I'm now based in York and find it difficult to get up as much as I would like, the Montrose result is the one I always look for.
© Neil Cameron 2004