FRASER AIRD has signed for Dunfermline after fearing the highlight of his international career could end up hampering his club future this summer.
The former Rangers winger left Falkirk at the end of last season after a short-term deal with the Bairns and then jetted out to play for Canada in the Gold Cup.
The 22-year-old played in the 1-1 draw against Costa Rica earlier this month as The Canucks made it out of their group before losing to eventual finalists Jamaica in the quarter-finals.
It was an experience Aird admits he will never forget but, with Canada not exiting the tournament until July 20, it meant he left it late in trying to find a new club.
However, the youngster, who played 85 times for Rangers as they came through the leagues, is thrilled to have penned an initial one-year deal to join former Ibrox team-mates Nicky Clark and Dean Shiels at East End Park.
He said: “After leaving Falkirk in the summer, it was a bit difficult because I was away with the national team at the Gold Cup.
“I was away for three and a half weeks with them so I didn’t get back to Scotland until about a week and a half ago.
“Then I was just trying to get everything sorted.
“I was away, so if anyone wanted to have a look at me they couldn’t. But obviously getting the chance to represent my country at a major tournament, I was never going to say ‘no’.
“It was a great experience for me. I’m just 22 and only recently been involved with the national team.
“It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life, my first Gold Cup.
“But once it finished I had to get my head down and try to sort out my club career, and I’m delighted to get things over the line with Dunfermline.”
Aird’s time at Falkirk was tinged with tragedy off the pitch following the sudden death of father Bill in January.
He subsequently dedicated his first international goal to his dad after netting against Scotland in the friendly at Easter Road in March.
The Bairns offered huge support during a difficult time, but the Toronto-born player is now eager to start afresh at Dunfermline and has set his sights high.
He added: “I only signed a six-month contract with Falkirk when I left Rangers. I just wanted to get out and get games.
“I signed there and then two weeks in my dad died and I was away for three weeks.
“This is a fresh start, joining a club at the start of the season, which is good, and hopefully I can get back to playing the way I can.
“It’s a league where I think Dunfermline think they should be pushing on for promotion and that’s why we’re all here.
“Hopefully we have enough depth in the squad to go on and do that.”