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“ENJOYMENT”, “freedom”, “loved it” - it would be fair to say Andy Stirling is relishing being back at Stranraer.

The popular midfielder was ready to hang up his boots before Stevie Farrell offered him the chance of a third spell at Stair Park.

Stirling has signed until the end of the season and is looking forward to enjoying his football once again.

He spoke to the club website less than 24 hours after rejoining the Blues and said: “I had phone calls off different teams but I was at the stage where I was actually thinking about chucking it.

“I was not interested and was not going to play.

“I had not played games, I had not trained properly and then Stevie Farrell phoned me a day or two after he found out I had left Alloa.

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“He asked if I wanted to meet him for a coffee.

“I know him and it was more so a chat as a friend and he was telling me what he was doing and who was still at Stranraer.

“I had offers from other teams and a lot more money but this decision was based on enjoyment.

“I wanted to enjoy it again.

“On Thursday, I signed and I am looking forward to being back and enjoying football rather than it being a job.

“It’s just about the enjoyment factor.”

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The 29-year-old’s connection with Stranraer is a complex one.

He had already made almost 100 appearances at Stenhousemuir and East Stirlingshire before moving out to the USA and a spell with Kitsap Pumas.

He was on his way back to Scotland when the opportunity of training with – not joining – Stranraer came up.

He said: “I had no intention of playing football at that point.

“My dad had phoned me on my way back and said Alan Waddell – I didn’t know Stevie Farrell or Stevie Aitken – had asked me if I wanted to come in and train.

waddell

“I said no problem and came in for training but they said there was nothing there in terms of a deal but I could get fit and enjoy football.

“I enjoyed training and Stevie Aitken asked me if I wanted to sign for six months.

“The rest is history!

“I absolutely loved it and the boys were amazing and the team was excellent.

“We were probably the unluckiest team in Scotland not to go up every year.”

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Stirling would leave to go full time at Dunfermline before a second spell at Stranraer followed under Brian Reid, with the Blues this time reaching the play-off final become coming unstuck against Ayr United.

The midfielder would link up again with Aitken and Farrell at Dumbarton before going to Queen of the South and then Alloa.

Now, Stirling, back at Stair Park again, has not ruled it out a third play-off attempt alongside familiar faces like Scott Robertson and Ryan Thomson.

A debut today (Saturday) will see him line up wearing the number 77.

He laughed: “In my first year, I wore 7 a lot and the second season I wore number 10.

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“That was my squad number and I could not have 7 (worn by James Hilton) or 10 (worn by Leon Murphy).

“I couldn’t have two 10s so I went for two 7s!"

Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish, Glenn Coulter LBIPP

SPFL 3L1 6474

POS
TEAM PLD
PTS
1 Raith Rovers 28 53
2 Falkirk 28 52
3 Airdrieonians 28 48
4 Montrose 28 47
5 East Fife 28 45
6 Dumbarton 28 38
7 Clyde 28 34
8 Peterhead 27 26
9 Forfar Athletic 28 24
10 Stranraer 27 16


2019/20 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Scott Robertson (DEF)
3 - Jordan Allan (DEF)
4 - Adam Cummins (DEF)
5 - Lee Hamilton (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - James Hilton (MID/STR)
8 - Grant Gallagher (MID)
9 - Ryan Stevenson (STR)
10 - Denny Johnstone (STR)
11 - Joao Victoria (MID/STR)

12 - Carlo Pignatiello (DEF/MID)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID/STR)
16 - Lewis McIntyre (DEF)
20 - Jordan Ross (MID)

21 - Dale Burgess (GK)
22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF/MID)
23 - Ryan Thomson (MID)
77 - Andy Stirling (MID)