Former Aberdeen midfielder Stuart Duff says he “still enjoys” playing after joining Junior side Banks o’ Dee.
Duff has ended a short-lived retirement to sign for the Superleague champions.
The 37-year-old – who also played for Dundee United, Inverness Caley, Kairat Almaty, Qormi and Cove Rangers – left Inverurie Locos at the end of the season to switch his focus to coaching Aberdeen’s under-14s, as well as continuing to work full-time.
However, a flexible offer from Dee was too good to refuse.
Duff said: “My focus was mainly on my coaching side of things, but I’m quite friendly with Jamie (Watt, Dee co-boss alongside Tommy Forbes) and over the summer months the opportunity came up to come to Banks o’ Dee.
“We had a conversation and the way he spoke about the club, how it was run (convinced me).
“Jamie’s been quite flexible with me. He knows my priorities with Aberdeen on the coaching side of things.
“The nights Dee train doesn’t conflict with that and the games don’t conflict either, so it’s a win-win.
“I don’t think my missus is too happy because I’ll be out of the house every night of the week, but it’s something I want to do and I still enjoy playing football.”
Duff trained with his new team-mates for the first time at Spain Park last night and was impressed.
He hopes he can give them the benefit of his experience.
Duff said: “That’s another part of the reason Jamie was keen to get me in. They do have a couple of talented youngsters coming through the ranks at Banks o’ Dee.
“You look at the youth teams, they’re really strong. At training last night, there were five or six young lads who could potentially go on to play at a higher level.
“If I can help them by talking to them during training, and giving them little tips here and there, it’s beneficial.
“I get a buzz from seeing the younger guys progress.”
Dee won four trophies last season – the Superleague, Grill League Cup, North Regional Cup and McLeman Cup. Their target for the new campaign is a good run in the Scottish and Scottish Junior cups, as well as securing the Inter-regional Cup.
After reaching both finals last season they’ve also set their sights on lifting either the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup or Aberdeenshire Shield.
Duff hopes to be ready for action soon. Dee start their season against Hermes in the Jim McPherson Trophy final on Friday.
Their Scottish Cup first preliminary round draw is favourable, with a home tie against Glasgow University, while in the Aberdeenshire Cup they’ve been drawn against Deveronvale or Aberdeen in the quarter-finals.
Duff said: “I had a slightly longer break and it was probably what my body was needing after 20-odd years.
“I don’t think it’ll be too long before I’m playing. It’ll be match fitness which is lacking; my base fitness has always been quite good.
“But I’ve been very impressed with the boys at training. There’s a very good team spirit and you can see how they did so well last year.
“After speaking with Jamie and Tommy, what they did last year was a minimum. The next step is winning the Aberdeenshire and inter-regional trophies.
“It’s OK getting to the finals, but going and winning them and having a good run in the Scottish Cup is important to a club like Banks o’ Dee.
“We know how hard it’s going to be. There are a lot of good sides in the junior ranks. It’ll be very physical and very hard, but I’m sure we’ll give a good account of ourselves.”
Banks o’ Dee aim to have their new boardroom facilities at Spain Park, the product of a six-figure investment, complete by the Glasgow University tie on August 10.