Craig McKeown says he’s still hungry for success as he leaves Formartine United.
The experienced defender is looking for a new club after being told by the North Lodge Park side that his contract – which expires this summer – will not be renewed.
The 36-year-old is keen to carry on playing and hopes he can help his new club win silverware.
McKeown said: “I still think I can compete at the top end of the table and can compete with anyone in my position in the league.
“Others might think differently, but that’s my opinion. I’ve said before that if I didn’t feel I could contribute to the team and compete at the right end of the table then I’d call it a day.
“I still feel I’ve got another season or two in the locker where I can contribute.
“The stop-start during the pandemic has made me realise that I still have something to offer.
“It would have been quite easy not to train and not to play, but I’ve trained all the time all the way through.
“I’ve trained every session, played every game and maintained what I feel is a relatively good standard.
“Formartine’s loss could be somebody else’s gain. I’ll look at every possible option open to me.
“It’s a new start and a fresh challenge and it’s quite exciting.
“I don’t wish Formartine anything but success going forward, except when they’re playing against me and wherever I end up I hope they finish behind me.
“But I feel ready and I’ve got a bit of fire in the belly and I’m excited about where my future might lie.
“I’m still keen to play and still hungry for success.
“I still want to win things – that won’t change regardless of age – and I look forward to seeing what happens next season.”
McKeown joined Formartine in the summer of 2012 and helped them win the Aberdeenshire Cup in 2013 and 2017, the Highland League Cup in 2018 and the Aberdeenshire Shield in 2019.
He had a six-month spell at Brora Rangers during the 2014-15 campaign and helped the Cattachs win the Highland League before returning to Pitmedden.
McKeown then spent two years on the sidelines after sustaining a cruciate ligament injury in October 2015 and a recurrence the following summer.
He is disappointed to be leaving Formartine and looks back with the regret that he was unable to help them win the Highland League.
McKeown added: “I can’t deny it was a bit of a surprise, because I’ve played every 90 minutes this season.
“I still feel I was contributing to the team and I still feel I can compete with the best in the league in my position.
“We won all our games in the league this season and both myself and Paul (Lawson) agreed my performances were up to the required standard.
“Paul openly said I was outstanding against Annan Athletic in the Scottish Cup and that was against a League Two team, having not been training for three months.
“So to come back and put in a level of performance like that it kind of baffles you as to why you’re shown the door.
“It’s a bit hard to comprehend, I respect the decision, but I don’t agree with it.
“Ultimately the football club moves on and we’ll go in different directions. I’ve got nothing against the club, the manager or the chairman.
“We’ve underachieved in terms of trophies and titles and there’s no getting away from that.
“I have to take some of the flak for that, because I’m a big player. Yes we’ve won four cups, but really I don’t think that’s enough for a club of Formartine’s stature.”