Grant Campbell hopes he has timed his return to perfection
after making his first appearance for Cove Rangers in almost a year in last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Nairn County at Balmoral Stadium.
There were loud cheers on the hour mark when Campbell made his long awaited return to the side as a substitute after a career threatening knee injury kept him on the sidelines for 11 months.
The 28-year-old former Wick Academy and Huntly midfielder or defender had been hoping to be back at the end of 2018 but a second operation was required to remove a small piece of bone broken off in the knee joint.
The accountant said his target was always to get back into consideration to help Cove retain their Highland League title.
He said: “After two operations and lots of rehabilitation, I’m available if I get the chance. I’ve been aiming since day one of my lay off to come back and be part of a league winning side.
“I felt hard-done by last season because I’d been involved in around 40 games then it all fell to bits less than a month before the pyramid play-offs. It’s great to be back involved, it feels fantastic to be back.
“This was my first game back in the first team although I was on the bench at the Formartine away game in midweek.”
Although it was Campbell’s first competitive game for the first team he has had a couple of outings for the under-20 side in the Aberdeenshire League and he gave a massive thumbs up to the plastic pitch at the Balmoral Stadium.
He said: “It’s fantastic. You are sure of your touch without the fear of bad bobbles. I enjoyed playing on the surface although I’m under no illusions I need to get fitter yet.
“My knee held up well. I was in a 50-50 challenge within minutes of coming on and there was no reaction, so that’s good.
“I don’t think we can worry about Brora Rangers because we know that if we can retain our record and form put together over the course of the season we’ll win the league. But we are in no way complacent, we apply ourselves every week.”
Cove manager John Sheran was delighted to see Campbell return and is hoping for another player to follow him into consideration for first team duties.
He said: “Grant still has a bit to go in terms of fitness but the plan was always to get him on the park at some point of the Nairn game. When he came on he did really well.
“Sam Burnett has also been out with a long-term injury but he is ready to go as well, it increases competition for starting places as we head towards a busy and challenging stage of the campaign.”