Petta considers return with Alloa

BOBBY Petta, the Dutch winger signed by John Barnes for Celtic and a regular in the team under Martin O'Neill, is contemplating coming out of retirement at the age of 36 and making a return to Scottish football in the Third Division with Alloa Athletic.

Alloa manager Paul Hartley and Petta, who coincidentally scored the last of his four Celtic goals against the Wasps in a Scottish Cup tie in 2002, confirmed that they had held talks and both men believe a deal can be done to take the veteran to Recreation Park.

Former Parkhead player Hartley, who left Aberdeen at the end of the season following a knee ligament injury to move into management with relegated Alloa, explained: "Since I took the Alloa job my mind has been on getting the best possible players to join us.

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"I've drawn up list after list and some of the names might be a little ambitious. But if you don't ask, you don't get.

"Bobby's name was brought to my attention and I thought he was definitely worth pursuing.

"I've since had a meeting with him and many things were covered."

Hartley added: "Bobby could do a terrific job for us. He is a quality footballer, has vast experience at the highest level and his knowledge would be a massive plus.

"We will have young players in our squad and they would benefit enormously from Bobby's presence on and off the park. We will meet again but at this stage it's a signing I'm interested in making.

"It would give Alloa a nice boost going into pre-season training as we try to build towards promotion."

Petta, who was called into the Netherlands squad three times during his five-year spell at Celtic, but was never capped, joined Celtic from Ipswich Town, and following his time at Parkhead went on to play for Fulham on loan, Darlington, Bradford, Adelaide United, Sydney FC and Heidelberg United.

He has returned from Australia since his "retirement" in 2009 and has been living in Glasgow, and after missing his time in the game, he reacted favourably to the approach from Hartley.

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"The meeting with Paul was positive," said Rotterdam-born Petta yesterday.

"He is a young manager trying to make his way in the game, and I liked what he had to say. He made a good impression. There is nothing definite at the moment but we will meet again.

"I hope to get back into football as soon as possible. I'm absolutely certain about this.

"I'm only 36 and feel I have something to offer for a couple of years.

"I miss football and don't want to be sitting somewhere ten years from now regretting I didn't stay involved at the professional level.

"My fitness level is fine. I have my own business as a personal trainer and that has kept me going.

"All I would have to do is improve my sharpness and that would come through playing games.

"I might not be able to spring past full-backs the way I used to but I have experience and know-how to keep the ball because possession is key.

"Young footballers need experienced heads around them.

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"I will wait and see what happens during the next week or two."

Petta added: "Clubs will start back for pre-season training during the next couple of weeks and it would be nice to have signed for someone by then.

"I can't wait to get my career started again."