Sec­ond chance for Os­man after fairy­tale’s un­happy end­ing

The Herald - Herald Sport - - SPFL PREMIERSHIP - CHRIS JACK AND DEREK MILLER

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

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