Mark Gallagher is thrilled to have the opportunity to return to the full-time ranks with Cove Rangers.
The midfielder signed for the Granite City outfit – who face Peterhead in a friendly at Balmoral Stadium tonight – following a successful year with Formartine United in the Breedon Highland League.
Having been released by top-flight Aberdeen last year, Gallagher’s aim since has been to return to full-time football.
The 22-year-old is thankful he’ll get the opportunity to do so with Cove who have made the switch from part-time to full-time ahead of the new campaign.
Gallagher said: “I’m delighted to join Cove, it’s a big opportunity for me coming back to full-time football to show what I can do at a higher level.
“After leaving Aberdeen, I always had aspirations to play as high as I can and go back full-time.
“I had a great time at Formartine – it’s probably the best season I’ve had in my career with the games I played.
“I learned a lot, and because there’s a lot of good players in the Highland League, there were tough tests every week.
“There’s a lot of good players at Cove that I can learn off, but I’ll also be trying to keep them out of the team because I want to play.”
Last season was a disappointing one for Cove who were relegated after only one season in the Championship.
In a bid to bounce back manager Paul Hartley has been rebuilding his squad over the summer.
Gallagher is one of a host of new faces at Balmoral Stadium and is optimistic about the new campaign in League One.
He added: “I think putting in a push for the league would be the aspiration for us and trying to have a good cup run.”
Blue Toon getting ready for big kick-off
Meanwhile, Peterhead co-manager Jordon Brown is looking forward to tackling Cove in what is the League Two club’s final pre-season friendly.
The Blue Toon get their campaign under way in the League Cup on Saturday when Partick Thistle visit Balmoor.
Brown, who is joint-boss with Ryan Strachan, said: “With the competitive games starting on Saturday, Cove will be a massive test for us.
“They are a really strong side. It will be a completely different test to what we’ve had so far in pre-season.
“Ryan and I are looking forward to going there.
“We want to see how the team cope with going to a place like Cove and a team that will be up there challenging at the top of League One.
“It is a good game for us before we look to kick on with the competitive games on Saturday.
“I think you have to use the League Cup as an exercise for getting ready for the start of the league games, but you also want to be competitive.
“We want to be really competitive, especially in the games at home.”