Russell Anderson seeking return to pitch & course

NEITHER Paul Lawrie or Russell Anderson have seen much action lately in their respective sports. The former’s European Tour schedule has been curtailed over the past couple of seasons by niggling injuries; the latter hasn’t kicked a ball for Aberdeen due to knee trouble since the end of August.

Paul Lawrie, left, publicises his new match-play event with the help of Aberdeen captain Russell Anderson. Picture: Kenny Smith

“We were just discussing which one of us is crocked more and I think Russell is winning that hands down at the minute,” joked Lawrie as the pair sat side-by-side in the Murcar Links clubhouse, his quip raising a smile on Anderson’s face.

It’s been a torrid time for the Aberdeen club captain. His joy at lifting the League Cup last season – a first trophy triumph for the Pittodrie club in 19 years – has turned into sheer frustration, having spent most of the current campaign on the sidelines.

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In his second spell at the club, having returned to the north-east in 2012 after an unfulfilling period south of the Border, he’s finally on the road to recovery, having already played in one under-20 game and turning out in another last night against Hearts. But, while Aberdeen are destined for their best league finish for 21 years, Anderson is unsure if he’ll still be around to be part of the exciting future being built by Derek McInnes. Out of contract at the end of the season, crunch time is on the horizon for the experienced central defender.

“I have put a lot of thought into it,” said Anderson in reply to being asked about his future. “Whether I will be a part of the squad or not will become a lot clearer over the next two or three weeks. I have loved having my time back at the club. I appreciate I have not played a lot this season. It will come down to a conversation I have with the manager. It will be a two-way dialogue because that is how these things go. We will just have to wait and see.

“I’m fit again now. It has been a really frustrating season, especially as the team have been doing so well. You want to be out the on pitch, you want to be contributing, playing some kind of part. I’m finally back to the stage where I’m playing again. I’ve had one game for the under-20s. Hopefully I can get some game time for the first team before the season finishes.”

Such has been the extent of Anderson’s injury – it was sustained in a 1-0 defeat to St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park on 30 August – that it has even stopped him from taking part in team bonding at events such as golf outings. “When you are injured you are not allowed to play as much golf because of your rehabilitation,” he said. “It is not ideal to be out on the course when you are coming back from injury.

“This season I have only managed to play one round. That has been difficult but the season has almost drawn to a close and I am back fit now. The clubs are definitely out now and I would like to play a fair bit over the close season.”

Having known Lawrie for the “best part of 20 years”, Anderson is delighted to see a European Tour event bearing his name being held in Aberdeen. Football commitments permitting, he’s hoping to be there on one of the days and reckons plenty of others connected to the club will be lending their support, too. “Paul has been a huge supporter of the club,” he said. “Anything that we’ve asked him to do, even off his own back, he’s been great. It’s just nice to be here to repay some of that support that Paul has given the club.

“The weekend of the tournament is over the first day of the SPFL season but, apart from game day, the players will be absolutely behind it 100 per cent. There is quite a golfing contingent in the changing room – [assistant manager] Tony Docherty has to be the bandit as he plays a lot lower than the 16 he claims – so there will be a lot of interest from the players.”