Michael Doyle is eager to make the most of his fresh start after joining Cove Rangers on a short-term deal.
The 32 year-old defender has signed a deal with the League One side until January after impressing in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Queen of the South as a trialist.
The experienced right back, who has played for Alloa, St Johnstone, Morton, Queen of the South, Falkirk and Hamilton, made his first competitive appearance in six months at the weekend.
Doyle suffered a serious knee injury while playing in a pre-season friendly as he tried to earn a deal with Morton, and is thrilled to be back playing.
He told the Cove Rangers website: “It was a huge relief getting back out on the pitch again, especially given that we got the result we wanted.
“You want to do the best you can, you don’t want to be a hinderance and look as if you haven’t played for a long time, but I thought I did quite well, managed myself, and I know that as the weeks go by I’ll get better and better.
“The injury I got was a freak accident, it wasn’t a bad tackle, but the guy landed on me, and I dislocated my kneecap.
“Thankfully, I’m a fit guy, and I was back running ten days later, but it has been a tough time and so it was good to finally be back playing again.
“Being out for so long was frustrating, I hated it, as my new fiancee Jane can testify to, and it was mentally challenging, so I was honoured to get the chance with Cove at the weekend, pleased we got the clean sheet, and I’m hoping to improve with each game.”
Hartley reunion was one Doyle could not resist
Doyle had other options but the chance to work again with Cove boss Paul Hartley was one the right back could not turn down.
He said: “The gaffer was one of my first proper managers in the game, so I know what he wants, and I had a great four years there.
“We got promoted twice and survived two years in the Championship at Alloa; that was a great learning curve as I grew up from being a kid to a man in football.
“I’ve enjoyed some successes, it was a real honour being voted League Two player of the year (in 2020/21) with Queen’s Park, and I captained them into the Championship as well.
“I know this division, and I know how tough it is, and I’m here to play my part.”
Cove manager believes Doyle will be a big influence on his young squad
🔵 We are delighted to announce the signing of experienced right-back Michael Doyle.
— Cove Rangers FC (@CoveRangersFC) October 31, 2023
Cove Rangers boss Hartley is delighted to have Doyle on board and believes his experience will be a huge asset at Balmoral Stadium.
The Cove manager said: “He’s experienced now, in fact Mikey was one of my first signings as a manager and I worked with him for three years.
“He’ll get up and down the pitch, is a good organiser and talker, and I think he’ll be good for the dressing room.
“He’s really enthusiastic, is a good person, and the type of boy I like to have around the place.
“I’ve been trying to get him in for a while now, and I’m so pleased we’ve got the deal over the line.
“Look at his contribution on Saturday. He hadn’t played for about six months, but you would never have known.
“He is one of the fittest players I have worked with, and he will only get stronger being back in training and playing games.
“He will be a positive influence on the younger players, both during the week and in matches, and he will really help them.
“You know what you’re getting with Michael and I’m looking forward to working with him again.”