Gary McGowan says it feels like he’s “going home” as he embarks on a fifth spell with Huntly.
The 35-year-old has joined the Black and Golds for this season on a loan deal from Banks o’ Dee.
Growing up in the 1990s, McGowan was a regular at Christie Park as a ballboy. He made his debut for the Strathbogie club in 2002 during a loan spell from Inverness Caley Thistle and has had another three stints prior to rejoining for this term.
The attacker said: “The fact I’ve been back to Huntly so many times speaks volumes about how much I love the club and also how Huntly respects me as a player and a person.
“Any time I’ve left it’s never been on bad terms, it’s never been anything other than a footballing move.
“My family is from Huntly and I was a ballboy for Huntly when I was a kid and I’ve gone right through and made a lot of appearances for the club now.
“When I was a ballboy Huntly were in their prime really, it was the glory years.
“I remember watching guys like Martin Stewart, Brian Thomson, all those guys when the club won five titles in a row (1994-98).
“I was lucky enough to go from sitting behind the goals as a ballboy to going on to play for the club and it’s good to be back. I’m delighted with the move and it feels like I’m going home.”
McGowan also thanked Banks o’ Dee for loaning him to Huntly. He signed for Aberdeen Junior kings in July after leaving Formartine United.
Explaining how the switch back to Christie Park happened, he added: “I want to thank Banks o’ Dee for allowing this loan move to happen.
“I was looking to challenge for a league in the latter stages of my career and I felt at Banks o’ Dee I could do that.
“But, because of the Covid situation, the Juniors aren’t having a normal league format this season.
“It’s not really what I signed up for and Jamie Watt (Dee co-manager) and the club have been brilliant with me and were fine with me being made available for loan to go back to the Highland League.
“I signed a two-year deal with Banks o’ Dee and hopefully come next summer everything will be back to normal and I’ll return there and continue with what I’d hoped to do, which is to try to win the league.”
McGowan is looking forward to working under manager Allan Hale, whose first competitive game in charge of Huntly is against Rothes on Saturday.
He said: “I haven’t worked with Allan Hale before now, but I’ve always heard very positive things about him and always heard that he’s extremely professional in what he does.
“That’s what everyone wants and you want to be managed by someone who puts in a lot of work and detail in trying to make players and the team better.”