CRAIG COYLE, who helped Bonnyrigg Rose lift the East Region Super League title last season before moving to Linlithgow Rose in the summer, has hung up his goalkeeping gloves after falling out of love with playing football.
While the 29-year-old still enjoys watching the game and, in particular, doing some coaching, he says he'd lost interest in actually being out on the park himself and wanted to be honest with Linlithgow boss Dave Baikie rather than continue to play at Prestonfield when he wasn't fully motivated.
Coyle, who comes from Penicuik and started off his career at Eskmill Boys' Club before moving to Salvesen Boys' Club, played for Raith Rovers, Morton, Arbroath and Berwick Rangers, before joining the junior ranks when he signed for Bonnyrigg three seasons ago.
"I'd become fed up with playing football, it's as simple as that," he said. "I love watching the game and also love the coaching side but, as I said to Dave Baikie, I had lost interest in actually playing.
"When I joined Linlithgow in the summer, I was really looking forward to the new challenge after becoming a bit fed up towards the end of my spell at Bonnyrigg. But, to be honest, I've just felt totally lazy and I'm not going to take what is a decent wage from a club when they are getting nowhere near the best out of me."
While Coyle admits he might regain his appetite at some point in the future, he has plenty of happy memories if, in fact, he has played his last competitive game before the age of 30. "When I first went to Raith Rovers, Jimmy Nicholl and Alex Smith were there, so I learned from some of the best," he added. "Guido van de Kamp was the first-choice goalkeeper and had lots of experience. I also had a great time at Morton, where we won a league title under John McCormack – he was different class.
"Unfortunately for me, things changed after Jim McInally came in and my face didn't fit. I was actually out for a month at the time due to a mouth problem and, by the time I returned, his mind was made up.
"I moved to Berwick but that's when I started to have problems with my knee and, after joining Bonnyrigg, it went again in a League Cup match against Musselburgh and I found myself lying flat out on the pitch.
"Bonnyrigg were great with me and sorted out an operation through BUPA but I spent a year out of the game and, after coming back, I started to be bothered by other smaller injuries, including a problem with my hamstring.
"Who knows? A six-month lay-off might help bring my hunger for playing back but, if my career is over, then I've certainly had a reasonably good kick at the ball."
"I want to get into the coaching side and am working on getting my goalkeeping licence at the moment." Linlithgow, who entertain Bathgate in the Super League tomorrow are trailing runaway leaders Bo'ness by 15 points after drawing five of their eight games to date.
Coyle admits Bo'ness are looking good under Alan McGonigal but reckons Linlithgow are the one team capable of catching them, especially as Baikie has started to get a bit more consistency with his team selection.
"I think the manager blamed himself earlier in the season for a lot of chopping and changing but there's a good bunch of players there and the manager and his coaching staff are trying to do things the right way," he said.
"The ability in the Linlithgow squad is frightening and there is no way anyone should be writing them off even though it looks as though it might be difficult to peg back Bo'ness.
"I think the win over Bonnyrigg a few weeks ago kick-started Linlithgow's season. Bonnyrigg played exceptionally well that day and it might have been a different story if our goalkeeper, Stephen Pinkowski, hadn't pulled off some great saves. He's a tremendous goalkeeper – the best I've seen in the Super League."