FORMER Spartans striker Errol Douglas is looking forward to renewing his rivalry with the Edinburgh club when he lines up for league leaders Kelty Hearts in an unfamiliar position at New Central Park tomorrow.
The 24-year-old, who joined Spartans in July 2014 after a stint in the Senior ranks with Stenhousemuir, netted 14 goals before leaving the following summer after he graduated from university.
A productive spell at Newtongrange Star followed before he caught the eye of then Kelty boss Thomas Courts at the beginning of last season.
Now working under former Scotland and Rangers star Barry Ferguson, the once renowned towering centre forward has been converted into a centre-half after featuring in the heart of Kelty’s defence this season.
Douglas claims he is getting used to his new position, admitting: “I’ve always been a striker. It just happened at the start of this season when Tam (Courts) asked me to cover at centre-back for a few games while some of the boys were away on holiday.
“I’ve enjoyed playing in that position ever since and feel comfortable there, so I have remained there and consider myself as a centre-back now.
“Wherever the new manager wants me to play, I’m more than happy to abide by his decision. I’ll always have that goalscoring instinct, but I’m keen to see how things progress in defence.”
Douglas insists it will be good to chat with some of his ex-team-mates when they arrive in the Kingdom of Fife – but he hopes they won’t leave with a smile on their face.
“It’s a massive game for both teams and I’m really looking forward it,” stated Douglas, who has helped the Maroons keep nine clean sheets so far this campaign.
“There’s a few of the boys still at Spartans I know well, so it will be good to get a catch up with them. I’ll make sure that happens pre-match, though, because as soon as the first whistle sounds my full focus will be on Kelty.
“I really enjoyed my time at Spartans. I moved there when they were crowned champions the previous season, so I knew they were a big club.
“I played alongside a great bunch of boys and the manager was brilliant with me. I ended up top goal scorer that season, but it was quite a frustrating campaign. We had a really good run in the Scottish Cup when we reached the last 16, which was a personal highlight, but our league form was disappointing. I felt we underperformed based on the quality of squad we had.”
Douglas is confident Kelty can take advantage of Spartans’ recent dip in form, in which they have failed to win any of their past four competitive fixtures – their last victory coming against Whitehill on September 8.
He added: “Obviously Spartans are the champions and we can’t forget that. They might be struggling a bit lately but it’s a very tough league.
“I’m sure the top teams will continue to drop points this season, but we just need to worry about ourselves.”
Douglas is adamant appointing one of Scottish football’s household names in Barry Ferguson outlines their intentions this term, following the sudden departure of previous boss Courts last month.
“It came as a shock to everyone when we heard the news about Tam. It was a total surprise when he informed us of his decision, so it was disappointing when you consider everything he has achieved over the years at the club.
“He built up a close bond with the players and built the team himself. People come and go in football, we just need to make sure we adjust to life quickly under Barry. He has got a wealth of experience under his belt and you can already see he is a born winner. That can only feed off on to the players, so we’re all buzzing, and training has been excellent.
“The last few weeks have been exciting and the media attention the club has had was crazy. You are well looked after by the committee here. The facilities are amazing, so everything is in place for taking that next step up to the SPFL.”
Meanwhile, Civil Service Strollers will be eager to build on their impressive victory over East Kilbride when they travel to face Edusport Academy at Galabank, while bottom club Whitehill Welfare are also on the road as they travel to face Vale of Leithen in the Borders.