BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
DEREK RIORDAN insists he is sick of spending his weekends watching the scores trickle through on Soccer Saturday.
Now the former Scotland star is determined to get his name back on that Vidiprinter.
The 34-year-old has joined Edinburgh City until the end of the season and, 10 months on from his last appearance for York City, was finally back in a match-day squad for Tuesday night’s win over Cowdenbeath.
His wait for a competitive goal is even more startling, with the man once dubbed “the best finisher at Celtic” by boss Gordon Strachan on a drought stretching back to May 2015, when he found the net for East Fife against Elgin City.
However, Riordan has passionately shunned the image of a player out of love with the game and is adamant he is fit, hungry and out to prove he still has plenty to offer to the SPFL.
He said: “I’ve been sitting on so many Saturday’s, sitting in the house watching Soccer Saturday – bored silly, basically!
“It’s just good to be back. I just got fed up sitting about, waiting for something to happen. I did have the chance to go abroad and a few other options, but Edinburgh is local and perfect for me.
“The local aspect of it was important to me. I’ve got three kids now and you don’t want to move your family about, so this is good solution. I can come in, help out and hopefully take chances in front of goal.
“I really feel like I’ve got another couple of good seasons in me. For one reason or another, I just haven’t had the chance to get in anywhere in Scotland and prove that, but this is a big chance at City.
“I never put much weight on, so it’ll take me a couple of weeks to get up to fitness. It’s more about the sharpness really. It’s an opportunity to get back in the window for next season. I’ll look at my options at the end of the season.”
Riordan, who boasts three caps for Scotland, has been derided as a wasted talent after forgettable spells at Shaanxi Chan-Ba, St Johnstone, Bristol Rovers, Alloa, East Fife and York followed his departure from Hibs in 2011.
Nevertheless, he remains one of the most prolific strikers in the history of the old SPL, with his tally of 95 goals over two stints with the Hibees and two seasons at Celtic only bettered by Kris Boyd and Henrik Larsson.
And, as well as re-igniting his own career, he is keen to pass on that experience to Hibs trio Lewis Allan, Ryan Porteous and Aaron Dunsmore, who are all on loan at City from the Easter Road outfit.
He continued: “The three lads were in at Hibs when I was training with them under Stubbsy [Alan Stubbs] last season. They are good young prospects. Ryan Porteous looks a brilliant talent for a centre-half and wee Lew [Lewis Allan] went in for quite a serious operation when I was there.
“But they just need to work hard. I’ve been there myself, I came on loan to Cowdenbeath when I was 18 and it’s great. You get to play proper football rather than your under-18s stuff and I’ll be happy to help them out.”
Riordan also revealed his shock switch to City was a case of friends re-united after recalling how stalwart Joe Mbu used to run rings around him IN SCHOOL.
The towering stopper, who boasts SPFL experience with the likes of East Fife and Cowden, is an influential figure in the dressing room at Meadowbank – but Riordan still remembers when he was a flying machine for Craigroyston High.
He smiled: “Some of the players are from my neck of the woods and were at school with me, so that’s a bit strange. Joe Mbu was at school with me and Jordan Caddow’s granny used to live right underneath me.
“Joe was actually a wee cheat when we were at school – he was too fast! He was rapid back in the day, he’s not quite got that pace any more. Everybody used to say ‘Joe Mbu’s in our team’ and you knew you wouldn’t have much of a chance against them!
“There are also few players in there with experience, like myself, Beats [Craig Beattie], Josh Walker and Marc Laird, so we can be the older heads in there. We’ve all played at a pretty high level and hopefully there is enough in there to stay in the division.”