Midfielder Jack Maley came off the bench to make his Rutherglen debut on Saturday and is determined to become a Glencairn regular after a seven-year spell in the Highlands.
The 25-year-old has returned to his native Glasgow due to work commitments, but he comes to Hamish B Allan Stadium with a wealth of experience, having started at Inverness Caledonian Thistle as a teenager and played for a host of clubs in Highland. League.
A few years at Strathspey and Rothes were followed by a short spell at Forres Mechanics late last year.
But now Maley is keen to break into the Scottish West League Premier Division after making his full debut in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Hurlford.
Maley, who had been playing as a test driver for Glens manager Willie Harvey, said: “I’m glad I did enough to impress the manager and sign until the end of the season.
“It allows us both to look at each other and we can continue from there.
“I’m 25 years old and I should be approaching my best years, so I want to establish myself at this level.
“I haven’t played at this level before, but from what I’ve seen so far the standard is pretty similar to the Highland League.
“I just want to establish myself and try to get into the starting 11 now.
“That’s the big goal for me; to get into the team and make sure I become one of the first names on the team sheet.
“I feel like I have good experience. I moved to Inverness several years ago and went through the academy there at professional junior level.
“I came to the Highland League when I was about 17 and played predominantly Rothes after a spell at Strathspey, then Forres more recently.
“The coach wanted to sign me at the beginning of December, but I hadn’t played many games since the pandemic hit, so I asked to go and sign for Forres to have some games under my belt during the festive period.
“But with Covid still causing problems for games, I only played a couple of games there.
“But I’ve moved back to Glasgow full time because of my job and I can do it again.
“It was tough because I was at Rothes for four years and I was the longest-serving player there, so to come here and be the new guy again is tough.”
“Trying to impress the management team and also the guys. It’s been a tough period for me personally trying to adjust to everything, but the guys have been new to me.
It was a forgettable debut for Maley, though, as he came on as a second-half substitute in a tough loss to Hurlford.
But he is sure his new team will fix things at home against Bonnyton Thistle this weekend.
He admitted: “It was not a good day at the office for us.
“I was involved for a few months and played a couple of games as a trialist. I also watched a few games off the bench and I think the guys would admit it was our worst performance in a long time.”
“It’s always hard to get into games when you get hit like that. You always try to make as much of an impact as possible, but it’s hard.”
“It wasn’t the ideal debut, but hopefully we can rectify that on Saturday.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.