Peterhead front-man Derek Lyle starts his 22nd season as professional football player tomorrow when the Blue Toon face Dundee United at Tannadice with the 39-year-old delighted that he did not turn his back on the game earlier this year.
The striker who scored 117 goals for Queen of the South during three stints at the club, and found the net for Partick Thistle, East Stirling, Stirling Albion, Dundee, Hamilton Accies, Morton and Cowdenbeath during a career that started in 1999 before heading to the Blue Toon in 2018.
Lyle, who turns 40 in February, admits that the coronavirus lockdown left him demotivated however a fitness programme that included running up the Campsie Hills inspired him to go again.
Appearances in Peterhead’s last two friendlies have convinced Lyle that he has made the right decision as he explained: “The lockdown was a difficult time as I could not train and I was left with little motivation. I thought that was it for me in terms of playing football. I had enjoyed my time at Peterhead but I did not feel like going back.”
However, Lyle’s hill work brought him a freshness as he explained: “As well as my football training I do a lot of work at a gym. When that was shut as well during the lockdown I decided to start running up and down some of the hills in the Campsies.”
“I sent a photo of me doing it to the fitness coach at Peterhead, Stuart Hogg, and that led to discussions about getting the most out of that work. I started to really enjoy that and I started to want to be involved in football again.”
Balmoor boss Jim McInally’s put an offer to Lyle that included a role as a striker’s coach at the right time and he signed on again and could face the Premiership side this afternoon with the goal-grabber saying: “I came close to hanging up the boots however it is full steam ahead for season 22 now.”
© Craig Stewart/ Peterhead Football Club