Photos courtesy of Alan Mahood
You retired from professional football in 2005. How are you enjoying retirement and how is life for you these days?
Since I have retired I have been in and out of football really and when I retired I was at a loose end because football was all I had done since I left school and it is a hard industry. It is ok when you are doing well , you are fit and people want you and everything is going well.
However, it is when you get to the other side and you reach the stage of 32 years of age and you have left school with very little qualifications and you are starting at the bottom of the ladder again and having to work your way up to whatever it is you are going to do.
I did struggle a little bit and I did not really have a focus but I had a family to provide for and mouths to feed so it was the case of trying to do something. I dabbled in a couple of things and tried to get away from football and I could not because that was all I knew but I soon ended up back in doing coaching at local councils and that ultimately led me back into Kilmarnock FC where I was doing community work again which fortunately for me led to a full time position in the community department.
You had a few spells at Greenock Morton. How do you look back on your time at Greenock Morton and do you have any particular highlights and memories?
One of the biggest things about my time at Greenock Morton was that I made some really great friends for life and I am still in touch with many even 30 years later.
The likes Derek McInnes, Derek Lilley, John Anderson, Brian Reid and Craig McPherson to name a few. We forged a good bond and good relationship when we were young players. Even now I was invited to a Facebook page of the Greenock Morton Fans Page and it is great because there are a lot of ex players that are on it and the guy that runs it Chris puts up old photos and people comment on them and it is good to get a feel of the good times again and keep in touch with the boys that you probably would not otherwise.
You played one season at Nottingham Forest in England. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any special memories or highlights?
Well obviously it was a hard time for me personally at Nottingham Forest because I have made a decision to go down there and leave the family home which was my Mum & Dad’s house and I had never really experienced that before but it was something I felt at the time was too good an opportunity to turn down.
I could have stayed in Scotland and signed for Rangers FC and I just thought at the time that Nottingham Forest were giving young boys a chance and that was the place to be but unfortunately I went down there injured. I got injured playing for Greenock Morton and I signed for Nottingham Forest in March and I did not train again until the pre season in June and it was hard to form relationships with the players and I would see them in the morning and then I would go into the physio’s room and they would go out to train so looking back there was nothing that I could do about that and I make no excuses and it might not have changed anything but I think it would have gave me a better chance because I just wanted to play football obviously and it is a long day when you are just getting treatment and then your day is over.
You mentioned your community work for Kilmarnock FC and during your playing career you went on to make many appearances for the club. How do you look back on your time playing for the club and do you have any special memories or highlights?
I grew up supporting Kilmarnock FC as they were my local team and my Dad took me to the games from the age of five years old and to get the chance to sign and play for the club was not only massive for me but it was also a big thing for my family as well.
I loved my time at the club and I was also fortunate to score a few times and even fortunate to captain the club on a few occasions which was a massive highlight for me. Also going into training everyday and enjoying life and enjoying my football.
You accrued a lot of experience playing for different clubs in Scotland and also in England. When you look back could you say who were among the best players you played alongside during your professional career?
When I went down to Nottingham Forest there were lots of names down there such as Stuart Pearce and Des Walker who were regular players for the England national team and Roy Keane was just a year older than me and the club also signed Teddy Sheringham.
I was fortunate to go away with the first team squad to Sweden for pre season and I trained alongside and played with these players in a non competitive way.
At Kilmarnock we had Ian Durrant and Ally McCoist and they both had illustrious careers with Rangers FC and had won everything and just them coming in and passing on their knowledge to younger players and also myself. I was 25 years old when I signed for Kilmarnock FC and they say that professional players do not hit their peak until 27, 28 and I found that out in my first team years at the club and it was a learning curve that I loved and really enjoyed.
When Ian Durrant got injured I just seemed to flourish after that and I went on to play many games for the club and in one season in particular I only missed three games and my confidence just grew and grew and when you are playing well and you are enjoying your football there is not better feeling.
Finally Alan. When you look back on your professional career could you say which coaches or managers meant a lot to you and played a key role in your development as a professional footballer?
Yes, When I was a young boy at Greenock Morton Alan McGraw was the manager and ex Aberdeen FC played John McMaster was his assistant manager and they both put their faith in me and let me go and play. John was great for me and he would even stay after training to work with me as he also played as a midfielder and he knew what it took to play in that position and he would work with me on my weaknesses and my strengths and try to make me stronger and the two of them together were excellent.
I still keep in touch with Alan McGraw to this day as he is always the Gaffer and all the boys refer to him as the Gaffer and he was not only great for me but also for the whole team. I do not think anyone had a bad word to say about him. He was just a very humble man who went through a lot of pain himself with bad knees and he would even walk with two sticks but he always approachable and always for you and he would do anything to help you not only in a football sense but also off the pitch as well and I have got a lot of respect for him as a manager but most of all as a person.