Scott Brown has paid tribute to Nicky Riley after the former Peterhead midfielder was forced to retire through injury.
Riley tore his cruciate ligament against Berwick Rangers 18 months ago and due to his pursuit of a career as a PE teacher, he has opted to focus on the next stage of his career.
The former Celtic and Dundee midfielder, who joined the Blue Toon in 2015, has not played since then and did not sign a deal with Peterhead this season. He is expected to attend Saturday’s League 1 opener against Falkirk at Balmoor.
Brown has been a team-mate of his since 2016 and says the 33-year-old will be missed by the dressing room.
He said: “We know the quality he had and he showed he could play at a high level. The year we got relegated he was head and shoulders our best player.
“It would be easy for his head to go down being injured. But he’s one of the boys that keeps you going when times are hard. Last season, when you’re thinking if it’s going to be our title to win, it’s boys like Nicky that really helped.
“The injury was horrible to see and the reaction he got from some of the Berwick fans wasn’t pretty. I don’t know how people can stand and laugh when someone has that kind of injury.
“It’s an age where he shouldn’t have to think about retiring and it’s a real shame. But he goes with the best wishes of the dressing room.”
Brown did opt to remain at Peterhead in the summer, despite interest from Dunfermline and he still retains a desire to try full-time football.
He added: “I don’t want to get to the age of 40 and think ‘I should’ve tried full-time’. Maybe Dunfermline wasn’t the right thing at the time for me but it’s up to me to prove in a higher league that I should be playing at a higher level.
“I’ve talked about how much I enjoy it here and last season was the first time I’ve played 35 games in a season. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it’s the best season I’ve had.”