Gary MacKenzie says he will miss being part of the Peterhead squad, but believes he has made the right decision to retire from playing.
The 35-year-old defender has called time on his career, finishing up at the Blue Toon, who he made seven appearances for this term.
Leagues One and Two are due to resume next week, but MacKenzie feels the time is right to hang up his boots.
Explaining the reasons for his decision, he said “The stop-start nature of the things and the unknown over the last couple of months has been tough.
“It was the same last year with the first lockdown, but in some ways it was a bit of a novelty.
“But then once you’ve been back playing and you get shut down again with no word really for a couple of months it’s difficult.
“I had been considering retiring last year before I signed for Peterhead, but with the last lockdown going on as long as it did I was desperate to get back playing.
“But this time has been tougher both mentally and physically and I kind of knew it was my time to call it a day.
“Mentally if you’re not quite there you feel all your wee aches a wee bit more, the runs are a bit harder if you’re not quite there mentally.
“I spoke to Jim (McInally) and he asked me to take a bit of time to think about it, but I wasn’t wanting to string anyone along and pick up a wage for something I wasn’t going to be fully committed to.
“The timing of this isn’t ideal for Peterhead and the boys, but if I’d carried on I feel I’d have been cheating them because it wouldn’t have been the whole me.
“Jim and the guys understood and I think a lot of people have found this lockdown a lot harder.”
MacKenzie counts being called up for two Scotland squads, playing for boyhood heroes Rangers, winning a Challenge Cup with Dundee, playing in the English Championship with Blackpool and winning the Scottish Championship with St Mirren among his career highlights.
He enjoyed his stint with Peterhead after signing last summer and admits he’s found it difficult to leave the Buchan outfit.
MacKenzie added: “I really enjoyed my time at Peterhead, it was tough at the start with the delayed season and getting upto speed.
“In a way it’s almost like going back to when I was a boy playing with my pals in terms of the camaraderie and atmosphere and it was a bit more relaxed than at the top level.
“The hardest bit for me rather than hanging up the boots, was walking away from the boys because I’d developed good relationships with them.
“Jason Brown, who I played with at the back, was gutted because he felt he was coming on as a player from me being there and playing beside him.
“But I’ll always be at the end of the phone if any of the boys need me and when things are back to normal I’d be willing to go training and help them out if they wanted me.
“That was probably tougher for me because physically you know what comes with football and saying to the boys that I was finished was tough because I’ve got to know them and I’ve seen them get better and there’s some really impressive players there.”