BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Raith Rovers defender Craig Barr admitted he feared he would never play again after making his first competitive appearance in more than nine months.
The former Gretna, Queen of the South and Livingston defender has endured a nightmare with injuries since joining the Kirkcaldy club in the summer of 2014.
The 28-year-old only managed 13 appearances last season after missing the first six months of the campaign following surgery to remove fragments of bone from his knee.
Barr has been similarly cursed this term, with a persistent pelvic problem keeping him sidelined until he was pitched back into action for a threadbare Rovers side against Livingston – with only one full 90 minutes of under-20s football under his belt.
Nevertheless, he turned in a fine display in the 2-0 win over Livi and – acknowledging the experienced dark days when he feared his career could be over – he paid tribute to club physio Stuart Phin and Rovers boss Ray McKinnon.
Barr said: “Did I ever feel like I wouldn’t get back? Yes, I did. it is hard not to think like that. But people at the club have helped me get through, paid for scans and injections. And the physio, Stuarty [Phin], has been brilliant with me.
“I had good days and bad days coming in for rehab, as anyone can imagine over an eight-and-a-half month period.
“It’s been terrible, so difficult. The hardest thing is trying not to take it home and let it affect your social life and family life. I have a son now and that has helped give things a bit of perspective and forget about football sometimes.
“With the new manager coming in last summer and bringing in his own players, being out of sight and out of mind is any footballers’ worst fear. So, I will always be grateful to the club, the physio and the manager, who has stuck by me and never let me feel isolated.”
Given his struggles to make an impact in Fife, Barr is realistic enough to acknowledge that he could be destined to exit the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.
If that is the case, he is determined to leave the club on a positive note as they target the final Championship playoff spot.
He added: “I don’t want to dwell on the past, I want to put it behind me. If I can help the gaffer in anyway then I’ll be able to leave – if I do leave – on a high, rather than reflecting on the injuries.
“I’m not a player who, over the years, was injured often. I’ve just been unfortunate that my time at Raith has been hampered. I don’t want to be known as ‘the guy who was injured’, I want the Raith Rovers fans to remember me as a guy who was a good player and gave his all for the club.”