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David Lilley interview

24th August 2011

Tell me how the move from Queen of the South to Airdrie came about. 

The gaffer had phoned me just to see what my thoughts were, I just told him I was laying a few things up and I still had the offer of staying full time.  But just because of the age I am at and obviously the state of Scottish football I was thinking of going part-time and looking at going into another job or looking into another career as well. 

Jimmy phoned me a few times just to keep tabs on what I was thinking and what I was going to do so it was basically conversations with the gaffer that made my mind up and I signed with Airdrie. 

With the decision to go part-time, how difficult was it getting another job?

I applied for the police and the prison service.  Obviously when most of the stuff you’ve done is playing football for the last 15 years it’s going to be difficult getting back into the real world.  I still think I can play for another few years, I feel I’ve got a couple of years in me and it’s just trying to use those to get trained up and have another career as well – something to fall back on when football isn’t there.

So you’re not going to stay in the game once you’ve stopped playing?

I don’t think so.  That might change in the next couple of years, I’ll maybe start looking down the coaching route but I’ve not really decided as yet and I’m still focussed on playing.  I could have stayed full-time but the way most teams are going, even some teams in the first division will be going part-time soon.

There was talk about that happening at Queen of the South at the end of last season...

There was, but then I spoke to Jimmy and he had a lot of positive things to say about the team and they were looking to add a bit of experience to it so I jumped at the chance when Jimmy offered.

What is it like playing in, as you say, such a young team?

It’s been a breath of fresh air to be honest.  I’ve been really impressed with the standard of the young players.  The gaffer has looked into the youth and depended on them quite a lot; they’ll maybe benefit this season with a few of them having played last season and will have experience under their belt.  There are a lot of good young players like [Ryan] Donnelly up front, [Jamie] Bain and Stallard, I think Kieron has a big future ahead of him.

Does it remind you of when you started playing 15 years ago?

It does a wee bit.  When I started playing there weren’t as many young players in the first team.  I think I played in the first team at Q.o.S. when I was about 16 but I think I was one of a couple whereas most of our team now is under 23.

There is a few experienced boys, the likes of Holmes and Lovering, so I think we can pass on a bit of experience to them.

Do you see yourself as a role model figure in the squad?

Not really but if I can talk some of the younger ones through the game then I’m quite happy to do that.  They’ve not needed too much help, the gaffer puts in a lot of time with them and a lot of work behind the scenes as well and the young boys will get the benefit from that.

When you were the age of Bain/Stallard, were there any specific players you looked up to? 

Mainly the captains of the team.  I remember when I went up to Aberdeen Derek Whyte was a big influence, he was a leader on the park and off the park.  He used to take us to the side, especially young defenders, and give us information and try and help us along.   

Has there been a stand out moment of your career to date?

I wouldn’t say there was a standout moment; there were a lot of important games.  I remember making my debut for Aberdeen against Hibs and becoming a full-time professional.  

I’ve not been too lucky in the silverware front.  I’ve been involved in a few cup finals, played in a semi-final and been injured or dropped for a final so hopefully I can put an end to that and get a bit of silverware in the next couple of years.

With recent results, and with you looking for a bit of silverware this season, what’s your personal aim for Airdrie?

To help the club progress.  We want to finish as high as we can and I think it would be great for the young players to stabilise themselves in the league and get a good run of games and I think it bodes well for the future. 

The next couple of seasons look quite promising for Airdrie if we can hold onto our young players!

Interview by Douglas Barrie 

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