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Josh Meekings on the ‘right time’ to make part-time move with Brora Rangers

Josh Meekings left Caley Thistle after relegation in 2017
Josh Meekings left Caley Thistle after relegation in 2017

Josh Meekings knew the time was right to step away from full-time football and Brora Rangers provided him the avenue to do it.

Some may have raised eyebrows on seeing Meekings, a Scottish Cup-winner with Caley Thistle in 2015, signing with the Highland League champions but to him it makes perfect sense.

Relocating to the Highlands with his partner Grace, who hails from Inverness, this summer was a concrete decision to put roots down. The couple have a young daughter, Ruby, and the city is a perfect place for her to grow up.

Discussions were had with clubs from the Championship, League One and League Two, including the Caley Jags, but the move to Brora suited him.

Meekings has qualified as a sports massage therapist in the last year and will assess his options off the park now his football arrangements are finalised.

“It just feels like the right time to make the transition,” Meekings said. “There were League One and League Two teams showing interest but it was all about my family now.

“I try to be realistic. I’m 28 but I’ve had an injury-struck last few years. It would be difficult to get back and make an impact in the Scottish Premiership.

“I’ve got a young family and I want to prepare and make sure I’m in a good position when I stop completely.

Josh Meekings was a Scottish Cup winner with Caley Thistle.
Josh Meekings was a Scottish Cup winner with Caley Thistle.

“People have this perception that football is glamorous. It means dragging your family round and following where football goes. You can have some fantastic times but there comes a time where you have to sit down and think ‘do I want to keep doing this?’

“We get good money but not life-changing money. I’m proud to have achieved what I have and wish I could have done more.

“I’m extremely grateful for the professional career I have had but there’s more to life than football.”

Meekings had latterly been with Wealdstone in the National League North, prior to an ankle injury ending his season early. He had moved back home to Suffolk last year after leaving Dundee.

Brora train in Inverness where the majority of their players are based, before travelling north to the small Sutherland village for games.

Meekings was captain of Dundee prior to his departure

Meekings can see the perception that it might be a move which indicates his career is winding down. But he still has ambitions, which have been mirrored by meeting the Brora directors and manager Steven Mackay.

The Cattachs missed out on promotion to the SPFL after a play-off defeat to Kelty Hearts, which has strengthened their resolve to finally make the step up.

“That’s where I firmly stand – we have to aim for the title,” he added. “Brora are going to try to implement what Kelty Hearts have done and I will be right there all the way trying to do that.”

A pre-season friendly against Caley Thistle later this month at Dudgeon Park will give Meekings the chance to say farewell to some of the club’s supporters.

It remains a great regret for the 28-year-old how his time with the Championship side ended. A serious knee problem kept him sidelined for their relegation battle in 2017 and he could only watch on as they slid out of the top flight.

He was let go on that summer, resurrecting his career somewhat with a move to Dundee under Neil McCann.

“I always said it left a sour taste,” said Meekings, “as I didn’t get the chance to say thanks to the club for what it gave me.

“Hopefully there will be enough supporters there to show my appreciation. It’s a game of football and it’ll be nice to get minutes under my belt, but also to play in front of Inverness fans again.”

Carl Tremarco and Josh Meekings
Carl Tremarco and Josh Meekings

The centre-back also wished to pay tribute to his former team-mate Carl Tremarco, who announced on Saturday he was retiring from football.

Tremarco won the Scottish Cup alongside Meekings six years ago and had spent the last season at Ross County in the Premiership, after making 204 appearances for Inverness.

“He’s had a fantastic career and I’m pleased to have played alongside him,” said Meekings. “We’ve shared some fantastic memories.

“He’s based up here and it’ll be nice to see him again.”

 

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