Friday 5th August 2022

THEY say a week is a long-time in football.

So when you are injured, 41 weeks must feel like a long time.

It’s not even the longest time Ryan McGeever has spent on the sidelines during his relatively short senior career to date.

But it’s a layoff he can’t wait to end. And tomorrow just may be the day, just down the road from where it started.

All of 287 days since he went off Airdrieonians’ pitch injured, he could get back on the pitch elsewhere in Monklands tomorrow.

It may be from the bench if he is selected to come off it, but Dumbarton’s game at Albion Rovers could be his first since recovering from injury.

And while Ryan feels he has managed the situation well, it is something he can’t wait for.

Speaking to dumbartonfootballclub.com, Ryan said: “It feels good. I’ve done two weeks of full contact training with the boys and it’s gone well.

“The next stage is to get back into the squad, so that is the plan tomorrow and I am looking forward to it.

“It is up to the manager how we will line up tomorrow, but I imagine I will be in the squad, maybe on the bench.

“I certainly don’t expect to start, as I am continuing the process of getting back involved with the squad.

“It hasn’t been the longest I’ve been out for. I had a bad one back in 2017/18 with Brechin City when I had to get an ankle reconstruction.

“I was out for maybe slightly longer than I have been this time around, so this lay-off has been easier for me mentally.

“The first one was a lot more difficult but I am older and more experienced now and I have been through something like it before.

“I’m certainly not saying the last 10 months haven’t been tough for me, but I’ve managed to keep myself right.”

One of the many frustrations of Ryan’s time out injured was not being able to help his team-mates in match action during last season.

But now he hopes he can help them bounce back by competing at the sharp end of cinch League Two.

He is, though, aware of the test awaiting Dumbarton on the trip to Coatbridge tomorrow.

He continued: “I’m not saying I would have made a massive difference, but you always want to help the team as much as you can, and sitting in the stand you can’t do much.

“You are always trying to put your opinion across, but not playing makes it a difficult situation to be in.

“But all the boys were brilliant with me through it, even though they were going through a tough time themselves.

“Unfortunately it didn’t go to plan last season, but we are off to a good start this time around and we need to use last season as a motivation to get back where I think we should be.

“With the squad we have, I have no doubt we will be there or thereabouts.

“Tomorrow will be a tough test for us. People have maybe underestimated Albion Rovers.

“The manager had them watched last week and the scout was impressed, and Cliftonhill is known to be a bit of a fortress for them.

“So by no means will it be easy, but it is not as if we are taking any game lightly. Every game will be difficult in its own way and we need to go into them with the right attitude.”

It will not just be the division which is different for Ryan over the coming weeks.

Not only has he been made Sons’ new captain, but he starts as a PE teacher at a secondary school on the south side of Glasgow soon.

He added: “The captaincy is something the manager asked me about, and I spoke to Stuart Carswell as well about the change-over.

“It has been an easy process and I am really pleased to get the captaincy. I just hope I can be wearing the armband on the pitch soon.

“I have just graduated as well, and I start at my new school a week on Monday. I am looking forward to that – I’ve been working pretty hard to get to that stage.

“I had to go back and get Highers, do a college course and then do a four-year degree. Now I have done all that, I can focus on my football a bit more.

“I have juggled the two for a while, but that was always taking up the forefront of my mind.”

Dumbarton Football Club

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