Elgin City midfielder Rabin Omar hopes his recent training stint with Iraq’s under-23 side can help him to realise his ambition of progressing to full-time football.
Omar returns to the Black and Whites squad for today’s trip to Queen’s Park having spent the last fortnight on a training camp with the Iraqi side, who the Holland-born midfielder qualifies for through his family.
The 22-year-old, who joined City from League 2 rivals Annan Athletic last summer, retains hopes of progressing to the full-time ranks and he believes his recent training stint has done him no harm whatsoever.
Omar, who recently graduated with a pharmacology degree at University of Glasgow, said: “It was something different. I was delighted to get the invitation to go over and train and see how things are done over there.
“It was an eye-opener for me to see the standard of some of the players and how the system works over there. Most of the players play in the Iraqi Premier League.
“It was quite difficult going over, as I was training in 40 degree heat, but those boys are used to training every day in that weather. They are quite strong and powerful.
“Once I got used to it though, I didn’t feel they were that far ahead of me.
“Training every day gave me a taste of full-time football and what it would be like.
“My ambition is to go full-time and try to go as far as I can.”
Omar hopes he has done enough to merit another selection by Iraqi under-23 manager Abdul-Ghani Shahad, adding: “I would hope to be involved again. They have the AFC U-23 Championship in Thailand in January. We have got a few friendlies coming up as well.
“If the manager liked what he saw, hopefully he will be in touch – fingers crossed.”
Omar’s last City appearance came in the 2-0 Betfred Cup defeat to Premiership side Hibernian on July 26, and he is eager to get back involved against the Spiders at Hampden Park today.
He added: “The Hibs game was my last game which feels like ages. We’ve had five games in two weeks, so I feel a wee bit guilty leaving the boys out to dry a wee bit.
“They have done well. With a few boys coming back into the team, hopefully we can pick up the good performances from where we left off. Everyone has got a feeling we can do something this year.”
Omar will be joined in making a return by fellow midfielder Brian Cameron, who is back in the fold following a knee injury.
Manager Gavin Price said: “It’s fantastic to have Brian back for the first time this season. He has come through training twice this week and he’s a naturally fit guy, so I won’t have any hesitations in bringing him back in.”