I t was interesting to hear my old friend Derek “Deeks” Riordan has signed for Edinburgh City until the end of the season.
The same club offered me a contract last summer. I met them, and shared their passion but in the end decided to concentrate on my football academy – if I was serious about continuing to play I’d like to think I could still have done so in the Premiership.
Deeks is a bit older than me and has been out of the game for a while. I spoke to him over Christmas. I had thought I might get him along to help me with coaching kids – there are few better to demonstrate shooting. But I’m glad he has returned to the game.
He can still be an asset if he puts his mind to it. When we played together he had this catchphrase: “smoke it”. He can certainly smoke a ball.
He was a luxury player, but then the Hibs team we played in could cope with that.
You would come in after playing really well on a Saturday and he has touched the ball twice and scored a really good goal and has got the man-of-the-match award! That was Deeks in a nutshell.
You would be in the car on the way home and from the radio reports it would seem like he had stolen the show.
I was still only 21 when I last played with Deeks, nearly 13 years ago now. He was suited to Hibs team at that time. It has all fizzled out a bit since then.
I have no qualms in saying he has made lots of mistakes. He would say that himself. One thing people will always talk about with Deeks is his natural ability. But he worked a lot on his shooting hence the reason he was good at it.
He scored more than 100 goals for Hibs – and that was in the top flight. What he did might actually be underrated.
Deeks played his best football under Tony Mowbray. Mogga used to use the phrase “cheat out”. Deeks was the player who would “cheat out” because we had so much talent and energy in the middle with Scott Brown and myself, plus our full-backs David Murphy and Steven Whittaker liked to bomb up the field.
So Deeks had the luxury of hanging out on the left wing, which suited him. We had a good rapport because being left-footed it was natural for me to put it out to the left wing.
There was mutual respect between us. I like to think there still is. He should certainly not be sitting in the house with the talent he has.