Rico Quitongo recently joined the Blue Toon from Airdrie and he believes that a phone call from Peterhead Gaffer Jim McInally was a deciding factor in making the journey to Balmoor with the 22-year-old looking to be involved tomorrow at East Fife.
Full back Quitongo this week called McInally a “genuine guy” in an interview with Lanarkshire Sport and said to our media team that the manager was: “A chilled-out guy but he’s also a legend of a guy, similar to my old boss at Dumbarton Jim Duffy. He is old school and I like someone that’s straight to the point. When I was leaving my old club, he made a phone call to me. It was nice just to talk, asking how I was and all that, because at the end of the day we’re all human beings.”
“So once I was clear to sign it was a matter of a 2-minute phone call to ask to get the paperwork sorted and then go to training. He was a big factor but again he is similar to Jim Duffy, I’ve got the same praises for him, so I owe him one”.
Quitongo made over 50 appearances under Duffy at Dumbarton before moving to Airdrie in the summer and despite having a good number of games under his belt he is yet to complete a full season of senior football due to Covid.
The former Son praised his former boss adding: “It was amazing, to play under Jim Duffy, he’s still a friendly face I can send a text to. Playing for him and getting into senior football after not playing at all was hard but worthwhile. Covid has however cancelled out a lot, and I haven’t actually played a full season with a first team yet, but I loved every single minute of my time at Dumbarton.”
“It was a dog fight to keep them in the league last season but I loved every single minute of it”.
Rico comes from a strong footballing family, with his brother Jai currently plying his trade at Queen’s Park, and his father Jose having played for a number of clubs in Scotland including Hamilton Accies and Hearts as well as in Portugal, The United Arab Emirates, Italy and Sweden in a career spanning over 20 years.
Defender Quitongo believes his upbringing and father’s attitude set him up well for life as a footballer as he explained: “My first footballing memory was probably going to one of my dads’ games. I don’t know what one because he moved about a lot, but one of my dads’ games with my brother.”
“My dad’s quite a chilled guy, he’s a bit similar to me and my brother, we all carry on. It’s more my mum that took us to the park every day as she was the one who kept us disciplined and on the right track.”
“My dad was fine in that way, he wanted us to be happy and still does to this day no matter what level we play at. As long as I’m happy and playing my football that’s all that matters.”
Quitongo joined up with the Peterhead squad this week in training and he is enjoying his start at the Blue Toon adding: “I’m delighted, I knew a lot of the Glasgow based boys so I never felt nervous going into training but the standard of it took me by surprise. It was really, really good. I knew the standard would be high, but it was really high, and it showcased the talent that boys have. I know we’re a young team, but we’ve got talented players who are ready to go and play.”
“Training was amazing to be honest. It was Si Ferry taking it and it was a hard shift but it was really good and enjoyable. It’s good as well the gaffer gives you small pointers throughout it all. It’s hands on which is really good.”
“I’m fit, and I’m flying going into Saturday whether it is to play or to come off the bench. I want the chance to show the manager what I can do in a game. Hopefully I’ll be involved with the boys.”
Manager McInally has said that Rico is in his plans for the weekend and Quitongo is raring to go and reckons his new side will play without fear despite a luckless run against the Fifers this season.
Quitongo said: “We’re a talented team so I think we should be going to win, regardless of whoever if it is we are playing- East Fife, Falkirk, Dumbarton, Cove whoever. We’re a good team who likes to keep the ball and if we play to our strengths, I don’t see why we can’t beat anyone.”
“East Fife have obviously had a disappointing run recently but we will not take that for granted. The boys were saying we’ve not beat them this season regardless of being on top in games so we’ll be going there knowing it won’t be an easy but we shouldn’t fear anybody.”
“The 3 points and a move up the table would be a great start.”