Derek Riordan: I've still got a couple of good seasons in me

Derek Riordan has insisted he is fit, hungry and out to prove that, at 34, he still has plenty to offer to the SPFL.

Former Hibs and Celtic striker Derek Riordan warms up before kick-off against Cowdenbeath at new club Edinburgh City on Tuesday, but didn't get on. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Former Hibs and Celtic striker Derek Riordan warms up before kick-off against Cowdenbeath at new club Edinburgh City on Tuesday, but didn't get on. Picture: Ian Georgeson

The former Scotland star has joined Edinburgh City until the end of the season and, ten months on from his last appearance for York City, was finally back in a matchday squad for Tuesday night’s win over Cowdenbeath – though he didn’t leave the bench.

His wait for a competitive goal is a long one, with the man once dubbed “the best finisher at Celtic” by boss Gordon Strachan on a drought stretching back to May 2015, when he found the net for East Fife against Elgin City.

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However, Riordan has passionately repudiated any suggestion that he’s a player out of love with the game, and says he was eager to stop spending his Saturday afternoons in front of the TV.

“I’ve been sitting in on so many Saturdays, sitting in the house watching Soccer 
Saturday – bored silly, basically,” said the striker.

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“It’s just good to be back. I just got fed up sitting about, waiting for something to happen. I had the chance to go abroad and a few other options, but Edinburgh is local and perfect for me.

“The location was important to me. I’ve got three kids now and you don’t want to move your family about, so this is a good solution.

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“I really feel like I’ve got another couple of good seasons in me. For one reason or another, I haven’t had the chance to get in anywhere in Scotland and prove that, but this is a big chance at City.

“It’s an opportunity to get back in the shop window and I’ll look at my options at the end of the season.”

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Riordan, who boasts three caps for Scotland, has been derided as a wasted talent after forgettable spells at Shaanxi Chan-Ba, St Johnstone, Bristol Rovers, Alloa, East Fife and York followed his departure from Hibs in 2011.

Nevertheless, he remains one of the most prolific strikers in the history of the old SPL, with his tally of 95 goals over two stints at Easter Road and two seasons at Celtic only bettered by Kris Boyd and Henrik Larsson.

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And, as well as re-igniting his own career, he is keen to become an unlikely mentor to youngsters such as Hibs trio Lewis Allan, Ryan Porteous and Aaron Dunsmore, who are all on loan at City from the Championship leaders.

He continued: “The three lads were in at Hibs when I was training with them under Stubbsy [Alan Stubbs] last 

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“They are good young prospects. Ryan Porteous looks a brilliant talent for a centre-half and wee Lew [Lewis Allan] went in for quite a serious operation when I was there.

“But they just need to work hard. I came on loan to Cowdenbeath when I was 18 and it’s great. You get to play proper football rather than under-18s stuff. I’ve been there myself, in this situation, and I’ll be 
happy to help them out in any way I can.”

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Riordan also revealed his surprise switch to City was a case of friends reunited after recalling how stalwart Joe Mbu used to run rings around him in school.

The towering defender, who boasts SPFL experience with the likes of East Fife and 
Cowden, is an influential figure in the dressing room at Meadowbank, but Riordan still remembers when he was a flying machine for Craigroyston High.

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Riordan joked: “Joe was 
actually a wee cheat when we were at school – he was too fast! He was rapid back in the day, he’s not quite got that pace any more.

“Everybody used to say ‘Joe Mbu’s in our team’ and you knew you wouldn’t have much of a chance.”