Just four months ago, Kevin Thomson was playing in the Scottish League Cup final with his boyhood heroes Hibs. In four weeks time he’ll be playing Junior football.
The 31-year-old midfielder was officially paraded at Tranent’s Foresters Park last night, having signed a one-year deal with the Premier League outfit in what is undoubtedly the biggest ever signing in Junior football.
Former Scotland internationalist Thomson will combine playing with the part-time outfit alongside coaching with Tranent Colts, the club’s youth umbrella, with plans also in the pipeline to open up his own soccer school in Edinburgh within the next few months.
Having experienced coaching in his third spell with Hibs last season, Thomson sees the chance to return to grass-roots football with the Belters as the ideal starting point to kick-start his coaching career and hopefully progress up the ladder to becoming a full-time manager in the future.
“I’ve already got my A licence and coaching was something that I was dipping my toe into when I was at Hibs,” said Thomson. “I see myself as a future manager. I’m only 31 so I’ve got plenty time on my hands and this could hopefully be a good learning curve to give something back to a community club like Tranent and potentially have the next star that could be at Hibs or Hearts.
“My gut told me that it was time to call it a day at senior after the career I’ve had, and the good times I’ve had in football.
“I had loads of offers to stay in senior football but none made me feel like I could have a buzz of getting out of bed in the morning to and go and do it. No disrespect to any of them because I’m humbled that the fact people picked up the phone, but at this stage of my life and at this stage of my career, I just felt it was beneficial, not just for myself, but hopefully having the chance to give something back.
“I’ve had a great career and one that I’m privileged to look back on to some of the games I’ve played in, the clubs I’ve played for and fortunately some of the medals I’ve managed to win. I know it is any eye-opener for people but I’m not any different from the other lads, I know I’ve had a different career and my career path has took me to different places, but I’m here as a humble lad wanting to play some football and if I can promote the club and the league then I think it’s worthwhile.”
Having started out at Hibs before earning a £2million move to Rangers where he enjoyed the most successful period of his career, winning back-to-back SPL titles and reaching the UEFA Cup fina,l he then moved down south and joined Middlesbrough. His career only looked to be going from strength to strength, but with injuries taking their toll, having already suffered a cruciate ligament injury on each knee before breaking his leg in the north east of England, he was struggling to play regularly.
He admits he’s become frustrated in recent seasons having been unable to play constantly due to further niggling injuries but insists he’s feeling fit for the season ahead having prepared himself over the summer expecting to extend his stay at Easter Road.
He said: “I’ve been up and down with injuries the last few years and got a wee bit frustrated with myself. I think it would be a bit disrespectful to say that I’ve dropped down the levels as such but from where I had built my career up to be, to being a full international to dropping down – I got a wee bit frustrated with myself probably.
“We all get older and eventually retire and thankfully it’s been a choice through myself rather than somebody else’s. To take a step back from the senior game and have an opportunity like this was perfect for me. It was something that I felt would be a better buzz for me and a better insight into seeing a different side of the game.
“I had prepared to go back to Hibs so I feel fit and hopefully that will stand Tranent in good stead. I’ve not come to Tranent to show off and stand out from everybody else. I’m just one of the lads and I want to be one of the lads.”