Second chance for Osman after fairytale’s unhappy ending
ABDUL OSMAN could have been forgiven if he had turned his back on Scottish football and vowed never to return to this side of the border.
Instead, the midfielder is delighted he has given our top flight another crack, six years on from the demise of former club Gretna. Osman had no idea what would unfold when he made the move to Raydale Park from Maidenhead United in 2007, but his time in Scotland would be a short-lived affair as the Gretna fairytale came to a sorry end.
After spells at Northampton Town and Crewe and a season in Greece with Kerkyra, the 27-year-old has given our game another go and has shone since signing for Partick Thistle this summer. “It is a long time since I was last here but there were more better players then,” he said. “Hearts, Hibs and Rangers were in the league but it is still a difficult league. There are always reasons why teams fall out of the league.
“It is still a decent level and I’m enjoying it. It was a difficult time at Gretna. Every game was hard for us: we went into games not expecting to win and it was tough.
“I still enjoyed it and it was a good experience. It makes you stronger. I was young then and I think it helped me a lot. After that I went back down south and played in League 1.
“I think it made me a stronger person. It was my first pro contract so it didn’t bother me as much. If it was to happen now, that would be a totally different story. It was an experience and, after that, I went to Greece and had similar problems with money. It is a learning experience.”
Osman has caught the eye since joining Alan Archibald’s side and will look to help them to another topflight triumph when they host St Johnstone in the SPFL Premiership this afternoon. The Englishman has added a steely presence to the Firhill midfield and given Thistle’s flair players some protection as they look to unlock defences.
But the towering midfielder admits it was the prospect of free-flowing football with Archibald’s side enticed him back to Scotland after leaving Crewe last term. “In my opinion, Scottish football is better than League 1 and League 2,” he said. “The mentality of how teams want to play is different. It is more tactical and you play more football.
“In League 1 and 2, in some games you hardly touch the ball. Some teams go route one but Crewe are one of the teams that try to play football because that is their philosophy and how they want to do things.
“Thistle are the same and it suits me well. I like the rough side of the game but, as a midfielder, if you can get on the ball it benefits you more.”
Frazer Wright, meanwhile, admits that he was ready to retire from football at the end of last season. The St Johnstone defender lifted the Scottish Cup at the end of last season, but struggled with his fitness and went through a spell out of the first team. “The way I was feeling, I was looking at probably chucking it at the end of the season,” admitted Wright. “Because of the [injured] hip I think I’ve only been operating at 50% and it was taking me two or three days to recover from every game I played.
“I know the standards I can reach and I was nowhere near them. But I’m feeling much better now.”
ABDUL OSMAN: Happy to be back