DANNY Swanson endured dark days engulfed by depression before rediscovering his love for football. Four years ago in his days as a Dundee United player, the Tannadice club checked him into The Priory to deal with his demons.
After sealing a loan deal with St Johnstone in January, Swanson, 28, has got his career back on track.
New Coventry City manager Tony Mowbray has recalled the winger for the final year of his Sky Blues contract. But first Swanson wants to reward Perth manager Tommy Wright for showing faith in him – by securing fourth place and a potential Europa League spot with a win against Aberdeen today.
While others dithered, Wright snapped up the gifted wide man from the struggling Sky Bet League One side.
He has repaid Wright with a series of stand-out shows, topped by a 35-yard screamer to beat Celtic at Parkhead.
It is far removed from the depths of despair which once enveloped Swanson before heading over the border, initially to Peterborough.
While he refuses to name and shame, the one-time Berwick Rangers player admits being scarred by the memory of being rejected by an old-school manager in England when mental health issues became public.
Swanson explained: “I thought it made things easier when it came out in the open about my issues.
“I hoped it would help people and stuff, but when I was leaving Peterborough things happened to make me think it might not have been the best idea.
“There was a team in League One, one of the top teams, who I was supposed to be speaking to. But they turned me down because they heard I’d been in The Priory. So I don’t know if it was a good thing coming out or not. It was an eye opener.
“I will never forget it because I was delighted to speak to them but they heard that and just said no. You could call it discrimination so I won’t name names and bring it all up.
“When I told my missus Holly, she broke down crying. I was angry and the next time we played them, I had to hold myself back because I was too pumped up. But that’s what happened and it made me think I shouldn’t have come out with it.
“That shouldn’t be the case because it helped me personally, but then you get some idiots like that guy. My agent told me about it. He kept it quiet until after I signed for Coventry. But I’ll remember it. I won’t forget what that guy did. Hopefully now he looks at it and sees me playing every week, but I’m not really bothered what he thinks now.
“He doesn’t have a clue because there are a lot of players with problems and I’d hate to think that other folk get treated that way. Football is taking more notice of mental health problems and that’s a great thing. But when you have people like that in the game, what chance do you have?
“I’ve been with managers who stood by me, like Peter Houston, Darren Ferguson, Steven Pressley and the gaffer here. So they are the people you respect.
“You just have to look after it and make sure you take your medication. You have to keep on top of it and try not to worry about things too much.
“It’s always there at the back of your mind, but I feel good just now.
“I was injured for a long time at Dundee United and I think that’s where it all came from. I couldn’t see a way I was coming back. It just builds up and then hits you. These days I’m relaxed, I’m comfortable and I think that has come with having my little boy Roman. He’s seven months old now so you go home from training and forget about football. I love spending time with him and things are great.
“I am really settled off the park. Since my wee boy was born I have changed a lot. In the Dundee United days let’s just say I wasn’t settled.
“Now I feel happy where I am and I don’t need flash things. Mates have been saying to me ‘why are you living in Perth? Why not live in Edinburgh?’
“It’s like they think Perth is a bad place and slaughter it, but I have really enjoyed it and feel happy here. My missus loves it as well. It has taken a while but I’ve grown up.”