It’s been jokingly suggested to Mikey Bruce that he’s had more clubs than Jack Nicklaus this season.
The defender, now back at Spartans, hasn’t had an easy time of it since leaving Ainslie Park last summer. After recovering from injury, he had initially agreed to re-join former club Whitehill Welfare, but instead opted for Junior outfit Penicuik Athletic. When that didn’t work out Bruce jumped at the chance to head back to familiar surroundings after experiencing a tough time off the pitch. “I’ve only actually had two clubs this season – this will be my third!” he laughed. “Over the last year, there’s been so much going on outwith football. I lost my job and every decision I was making was the wrong one. To be honest I was just looking for a bit of happiness and I couldn’t really find it anywhere.
“At Penicuik, I never even knew I was on the transfer list. I was close to moving to a couple of clubs in January but it never happened. I’ve stayed in contact with Dougie [Samuel] and he asked me if I fancied doing a bit of training so it just sort of happened from there. They’re a bit short at the back so it’s a deal until the end of the season just to get back into it and we’ll take it from there.”
Bruce initially joined Spartans – who face BSC Glasgow tomorrow – from Whitehill in 2014 but injury curtailed his playing time at Ainslie Park, with the famous William Hill Scottish Cup run proving costly. “I got a couple of bad injuries and both of them came in the Scottish Cup,” he explained. “Against East Kilbride I broke my toes then came back and had two or three games then played Morton and did my ankle ligaments. The big thing with that was we knew we’d been drawn against Hibs [after a 1-1 fourth round draw with Berwick Rangers] and myself and Dougie both said it, but I pushed myself far too much trying to get back for the Berwick game. That scuppered my whole time there really. When I think back now I probably shouldn’t have left. Just at that time, I felt the world was against me and it was the easy option.”
The former Whitehill captain saw out the season on loan at Craigroyston, and after a nomadic existence since then, is now ready to take full advantage of his return to North Edinburgh. “Grant Carnie was there at the time. He’s a good friend in football, so I went along to help them out,” he said. “Dougie was happy for me to go along and wanted me to enjoy my football again and play with no worries or stress. I did to a certain extent, and then Grant got the Whitehill job but that went a bit ‘Pete Tong’ as well!
“I then went to Penicuik and we were flying – top of the league, winning every week and the standard was really good. It got to the point where I couldn’t make training and felt bad that I wasn’t there and when I did go I wasn’t enjoying it so I needed a wee break. It was just one of these things.
“The good thing about being back is Dougie has a lot of respect in the game and with Gary Smith as assistant manager, who better to learn off than a guy who’s played at the highest level in Scotland and abroad in my position? Even it’s only until the end of the season, it’s always good to be learning from someone like that.”