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Peterhead boss Jim McInally talks up help Gary Fraser has received from mental health charity Back Onside

Peterhead midfielder Gary Fraser, right, with team-mate Derek Lyle.
Peterhead midfielder Gary Fraser, right, with team-mate Derek Lyle.

Peterhead manager Jim McInally reckons Gary Fraser has benefitted enormously from his involvement with charity Back Onside.

Fraser, who has been sidelined since December last year with a knee injury, has been working with the Scottish mental health charity and recently conducted a revealing interview on their podcast about his life and career.

The midfielder is due to have his long-awaited operation in December, which was backed by a mammoth fundraising effort during the summer.

During his injury Fraser has remained part of the Peterhead match-day squad, attending games and interacting with team-mates.

On the podcast, Fraser speaks about his move to Bolton as a teenager, his injury problems and the incident at Celtic Park when he was with Partick Thistle, where he kicked a ball into the stand and hit a supporter.

His work with Back Onside CEO Libby Emmerson has helped him during a challenging time, says McInally, who is pleased to still have him involved in the Peterhead dressing room.

McInally said: “Libby takes him for talks; he’s been to Barlinnie Prison and around schools and she keeps him at it. With the help he’s had, he might come back stronger (from the injury).

“The podcast was really quite emotional, talking about how he wished he’d come across Back Onside when he was starting out.

“It puts things into perspective – he’s just so honest. It wasn’t until we did the sponsorship with them and did the hill walk (to fundraise for Fraser’s operation) that he met Libby.

“He’s a great guy to have about the place and the sooner he gets the operation done, the better. It’s in December so it will be a year out by the time he gets it done.”

Peterhead midfielder Gary Fraser.
Peterhead midfielder Gary Fraser.

More than £20,000 was raised during the fundraising campaign, which included a number of well-known figures in football – McInally and Peterhead player-coach Simon Ferry being two of them – auctioning off some of their old shirts.

Fraser’s former team-mate at Partick Thistle Kevin Nisbet also put forward his Scotland shirt, after scoring in the draw with the Netherlands in June.

Part of the fundraising drive also saw them put money towards Back Onside, as ex-Blue Toon player David Cox is a patron. Cox has spoken openly about his struggles with mental health and currently plays in the Highland League for Brechin City.

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