Airdrie defender Simon Mensing loved living the American dream – but insists he missed the passion Scotland has for football.
The experienced former St Johnstone and Hamilton player spent two seasons in the second tier of US soccer with Atlanta Silverbacks and Carolina RailHawks and even came up against the likes of Spain legend Raul and former England cap Joe Cole.
Despite playing with the sun on his back, Mensing insists the Americans do not live and breathe football like the Scots – and he was even taken aback when fans would even congratulate him following a defeat.
Mensing will attempt to help the Diamonds cut Livingston’s 11 point lead in today’s League One top of the table clash and admits he is thrilled to be back home
He said: “I enjoyed my time over there, it was a great experience. Not just on the football side, but the lifestyle and exploring news things and new cities.
“Football is slightly different that if you were to lose a game the fans would still be upbeat and would congratulate you. Here it’s a little bit different.
“I definitely prefer the levels of expectation we have in Scottish football, it was evident from playing over in America that it seems to mean a lot more over here.
“As players, losing a game on a Saturday ruins your weekend and I’m certainly no different.
“Over there at times it did not seem to matter as much, not to everyone though. Maybe that’s the cultural difference but I’m delighted to get back.
“As much as the fans here are behind you, they also give you stick and that’s part and parcel of being a footballer.”
Mensing insists rubbing shoulders with some of the marquee names in the NASL was an experience he will not forget.
He added: “Last season Joe Cole was the biggest name, he signed for Tampa Bay Rowdies and the year before that I played against Raul and Marcos Senna at New York Cosmos.
“That was definitely a highlight.
“There’s certainly a lot of players that go over and look to enjoy the lifestyle, which I can totally understand.”
Mensing insists Airdrie must defeat the Lions this afternoon if they are to have any hopes of clinching the League One title.
He added: “Without doubt it’s our biggest game of the season, the gap’s 11 points at the moment and a win would go a long way.
“If they were to win, they would have a considerable lead, a win is very much needed for us.
“If we can take our second half performance from Peterhead then we should be okay.”