JR. “Hi Jamie, thanks for talking to me this morning at TSF. Weirdly enough one of my best mates, who’s English, is a staunch Stranraer FC fan, how have you found it since signing for the club in in 2017?
JH ‘'Well I joined Stranraer thanks to Stevie Farrell. He gave me the opportunity to come and part time when I was flopping between hanging my boots up and maybe having one last go. I had a good conversation with Stevie and he told me what his plans were for the next few years moving forward, to be perfectly honest, I liked the sound of it. So I jumped on it straight away, I was really happy to come and sign for Stranraer FC and so far it has been really good and I don’t feel like hanging my boots up for a while so far so something must be working!”
JR ‘’Obviously you’re no stranger to Scottish football, there were three seasons with a very good Heart of Midlothian team. Perfect preparation!
JH ‘’That's right, and I have a lot of highlights from my time at Hearts. When I would play there on a Saturday there would be 15,000 home fans in attendance at Tynecastle, which is unbelievable. The supporters were great and during my time with the club, I played just shy of 100 games for Hearts which was good considering that I was injured for nine months! I suffered an ACL injury which as everybody knows is one of the worst injuries a footballer can have.
But I managed to come back from that injury and play regularly again. Winning the Scottish cup during my time at Heart of Midlothian was fantastic, even although I wasn’t involved in that particular game, it was great to be part of it and be in and around the dressing room and hotel and things like that. It was a very good time to be at the club.”
JR '' You also played for a season at Queen of the South, where one coach took your eye…”
JH ‘’That's right, Gavin Skelton. He is currently assistant manager of Carlisle United and he is someone who will hopefully go on within the next five years or so to have very successful career as a manager because I thought the football that he played at Queens was very good. I was disappointed with the way things unravelled for him because he was doing really well.
But I have been in the game long enough to know that you are only four results away from no longer being in the job. I really enjoyed my time at Queen of the South and although I only had a short time at the club everybody at Queen of the South made me feel really welcome.’'
JR. “You must have come up against some cult heroes around that time in Scottish football?”
JH ''In your career you come across good players who have different characteristics and different aspects to their game, whether that be a good defender or a good finisher. But probably the player who stands out that I played alongside would be Alexei Eremenko, he came on loan to Kilmarnock FC. He was just a joy to train with everyday. He would glide past everyone and he had a great range of passing, and the way in which he would receive the ball was just head and shoulders above everybody.”
JR ‘'Given your position on the pitch as a right back/midfielder, there must have been some tasty opponents?"
JH ''I remember at Heart of Midlothian we played Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League and I came up against Gareth Bale. He played on the left and I was playing at right back and it was a good tussle for a while. Obviously he came out on top and Tottenham Hotspur went on to win the game 5-0 at Tynecastle. But I have also been fortunate to play against many good players in my career so far.”
JR ‘'Jamie thanks for nipping out to talk to me this morning. Before let you go, tell me about the best coaches and managers you played under and their influence on you as a player?
JH ‘'The first thing to say is that every manager is different. But a big credit goes to Alan Robertson who was my youth team coach at Kilmarnock FC. He helped to guide my path as a player and under his watch I made my debut for Kilmarnock FC. I was also involved with the Scottish national team at under 21 level, which in part is credit to his influence on my development. He was always on my case shouting, 'do this, do that’, but he was the go to person as a coach really, and that’s always good to have in your corner.
When I look back, Alan Robertson has brought through some very good players in the likes of Kris Boyd and Steven Naismith. If you look at his format, he was good at bringing young players through as well.
Jim Jefferies also had a big part to play in my career as well, he gave me my opportunity with Kilmarnock FC and he was also the manager who gave me my debut against Heart of Midlothian at Tynecastle. Later I went to Heart of Midlothian with him and although he did not last very long there he was good to have along the way as well.”
James Rowe is a Dutch Football expert based in the Netherlands, professional writer and translator for The Secret Footballer. He has featured on talkSPORT and regularly features on talkSPORT 2 and Love Sport Radio. You can follow him on Twitter here.