Betfred Cup: Ex-Buddy Jack Smith relishing Paisley return with Spartans

Striker Jack Smith revealed his decision to join Lowland League champions Spartans has already been vindicated despite the new season being just three days old.

Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 6:30 am
Spartans striker Jack Smith takes on the Dumbarton defence last weekend. Pic: Andrew O'Brien
Spartans striker Jack Smith takes on the Dumbarton defence last weekend. Pic: Andrew O'Brien

The 23-year-old insists he is loving life at Ainslie Park having turned down the opportunity to extend his stay with divisional rivals BSC Glasgow.

Smith made his competitive debut in Saturday’s Betfred Cup Group H opener against Dumbarton, Spartans picking up a well-earned point following a goalless stalemate. And although the Sons stole an additional bonus point having prevailed 4-3 in the penalty shoot-out, Smith believes the performance augurs well for tonight’s trip to newly-promoted Premiership outfit St Mirren.

The forward, who is the son of former Dunfermline striker Andy, is a familiar face around St Mirren’s Simple Digital Arena having come through the youth system prior to making his top-flight bow against Aberdeen in May 2013.

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Despite being unable to agree new terms with then Saints boss Danny Lennon, Smith - who has since played for SPFL clubs East Fife, Arbroath and Stenhousemuir - is relishing his imminent return to Paisley.

And, he says he owes all of his early-season enthusiasm to his new Spartans team-mates.

“I loved my time at St Mirren,” Smith recalls. “I was there for three years, eventually broke into the first team and made my debut against Aberdeen. I was well looked after.

“I was offered a new contract but it wasn’t what I was looking for so we went our separate ways. It was just one of those things so there are no bad feelings involved.

“But it’s not about me tonight it’s about the team. I’m just delighted to be playing against a club like St Mirren again because it doesn’t happen to the rest of the teams in the Lowland League. It’s a reward for the season they had last year and I am just so excited to be a part of it. We’ll just go and enjoy tonight as all the pressure will be on St Mirren as they really should be beating us.

“I’ve been really impressed with the squad in the short time I’ve been in and even the boys that didn’t start against Dumbarton on Saturday have done really well. I felt we dominated the first half at the weekend but they came into the game more after half-time so I think a draw was probably a fair result. I think we gave a really good account of ourselves.”

Smith revealed he was blown away by manager Dougie Samuel and chairman Craig Graham’s vision for the club.

“I started speaking to Dougie and Craig in May,” he explained. “We met up a couple of times and he really sold it to me. I knew a lot about the club having played against Spartans these last couple of seasons but I’ve been really impressed in my short time here.

“I was offered a new deal by BSC but I wanted to weigh up my options. I had a few other offers on the table but I just feel this was the right one to accept at this time. I went away on holiday and spoke to my dad as he has obviously played a big part in my football career. So, after a few weeks it was a no brainer to sign with Spartans.

“The boys have made it easy for me as they’ve all been really welcoming. We’re really looking forward to going to Hampden [to play Queen’s Park] on Saturday and then the visit of Kilmarnock, so we’ve got a lot to look forward to.”