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“STRANRAER was my first choice”.

Many young footballers growing up in Stranraer and the Rhins have likely dreamt of following in the footsteps of stars like Keith Knox and Allan Jenkins and running out at Stair Park.

Now, Lyle Avci is getting the chance to do just that.

The young goalkeeper said: “It is a pleasure being at Stranraer.

“At the time, I had just been released by Ayr United and was looking for another club.

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“Here was my first choice, straight away.

“I have grown up in Stranraer my whole life.

“It is a small town and everybody knows me, everybody knows each other, so, it is good that way.”

The deal came about after a phone call to Stranraer’s director of football, Stuart Millar, who quickly passed on his details to manager Stevie Farrell.

The Blues have undergone a massive squad overhaul over the close season, which, coupled with the financial problems at the end of 2017, has seen many players leaving Stranraer.

Max Currie has become first choice since the departure of Cameron Belford and now Avci has been brought in as competition for the former Motherwell youngster.

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Avci, who turns 21 later this year, knows all about the role of understudy having spent much of last season on the bench as competition to Jordan Hart at Ayr United last year.

He said: “It was good - I learnt a lot from Jordan, Jack Ruddy and Derek Stillie (former Aberdeen, Dunfermline and Scotland under-21 goalkeeper, who was part time goalkeeping coach at Ayr).

“I was at Ayr for five years and knew Jordan for two years.

“Jordan and myself had a good connection with each other and bounced off one another, while learning and growing together.”

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Avci, who also had a loan spell at Troon last year, alongside a number for former Blues, including Evan and Matt Maley, made his senior debut on Saturday against Edinburgh City.

The capital side would claim three points with a 4-2 victory.

Avci, who reckons he will be clocking up in the region of 20,000 miles travelling up and down the A77 to training over the next 12 months, said: “I’m just gutted more than anything.

“I was making my debut and the two goals in the first half were unstoppable, I think.

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“The wind took the third one, I’ve misjudged it but you have got to move on and focus on the rest of the season.

“It can be a lonely place [as a goalkeeper] sometimes but I am used to it.

“I have had my bad games but I know good times will come and I will have more good games than bad games.”

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish
We're back home on Saturday for the first league game of 2018/19.

Pick up your season ticket from the Fitba' Bar or Stair Park to save up to £55 on league entry.

L01 Raith W

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Arbroath 17 45
2 Raith Rovers 17 32
3 East Fife 17 26
4 Forfar Athletic 17 24
5 Montrose 17 21
6 Airdrieonians 17 20
7 Stranraer 16 20
8 Dumbarton 17
9 Brechin City 16 16
10 Stenhousemuir 17 15


2018/19 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Daniel Higgins (DEF)

3 - Chris McGowan (DEF)
4 - Andy McDonald (DEF)
5 - David Brownlie (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - Mark Lamont (MID)
8 - Kyle Turner (MID)
10 - Luke Donnelly (STR)
11 - Grant Anderson (M/S)
12 - Ian Smith (MID)

13 - Lyle Avci (GK)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID)
16 - Max Ashmore (MID)
17 - David Smith (D/M)
18 - Innes Cameron (STR)
19 - Ciaran Diver (STR)
20 - PJ Crossan (STR)

22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Adam Cummins (DEF)