Ex-Manchester United and Hibernian winger Danny Galbraith says he's delighted to make Rovers return

Gala Fairydean Rovers new recruit Danny Galbraith says he’s delighted to be returning to his home-town club and looking forward to playing with his old team-mates there again after a year away at Scottish Lowland Football League rivals Bo’ness United.

By Darin Hutson
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 8:58 am
New Gala Fairydean Rovers winger Danny Galbraith says he's delighted to be back at his home-town club (Photo: Gala Fairydean Rovers)
New Gala Fairydean Rovers winger Danny Galbraith says he's delighted to be back at his home-town club (Photo: Gala Fairydean Rovers)

The Galashiels-born 31-year-old is also relishing the prospect of a reunion with his old Hibernian team-mate Martin Scott, now manager of the Netherdale club.

The winger is one of three close-season signings made by Rovers so far, along with centre-forward Allan Smith and goalkeeper Ryan Goodfellow.

Galbraith was previously at Rovers from June 2019 to May 2021 and says, having signed a pre-contract, he’ll be glad to be back after an injury-blighted season at Newtown Park in Bo’ness.

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Striker Allan Smith has signed up for Gala Fairydean Rovers for next season (Photo: Gala Fairydean Rovers)

“I’m looking forward to it, absolutely, yes,” he said.

“It’s coming full circle, so I’m looking forward, hopefully, to carrying on where we left off.”

Ex-Gala captain Galbraith only got to go up against his old side once last campaign and even that was a cameo appearance as their December fixture at Netherdale was called off after quarter of an hour due to adverse weather.

“I only played in the one and it was the one that got called off after 15 minutes because there was torrential snow,” he recalled.

“The other was the first game I missed because it was right at the start of the season and I’d had that sort of horror tackle, so I missed the first one at Bo’ness and then the second one got snowed off so I was obviously destined not to play against them.”

Galbraith is now looking forward to being on the same side as his old Gala team-mates, saying: “That’s massive for me, to be honest, because I’m playing football for one main reason, and that’s to enjoy it.

“I’ve had a period of playing for a living and playing because you rely on it to pay your mortgage and that’s a whole different mindset. Now, I don’t need to play but I play because I love football.

“I really enjoyed it at Gala and I was never looking to leave.

“The chance to get back in familiar surroundings with a group of lads I already know is great and I can’t wait to get working with them again.”

He is also looking forward to playing for, and possibly with, Scott, alias Jimmy, following their time together at Hibs from 2011 to 2013.

“Jimmy and I actually played in the first team at Hibs together quite a number of years ago and we were both quite a bit younger, I dare say.

“I know Jimmy pretty well, having been in a dressing room with him for at least a season or two.

“That’s definitely played a part in me coming back but, to be honest, I think I know the club well enough anyway.

“It was important to hear what Jimmy had to say to make sure we were a good fit for one another, but, regardless of who the manager was, my real motivation is the club, having grown up in Gala.

“My family still live in Gala and my grandad still goes home and away to watch Gala and he decided not to come up to Bo’ness so I thought it was probably better for me to come back if he’s not going to watch me anywhere else.”

Looking back at his time playing for manager Max Christie at Bo’ness United, Galbraith, a financial adviser away from the pitch, based in Dalkeith in Midlothian, recalled: “It was a bit of a nightmare really because right before pre-season at Bo’ness, I got Covid and I had it quite bad, to be honest.

“I ended up missing virtually the whole pre-season and then I rushed back and had one training session and their last pre-season game was against Linlithgow, a kind of local derby, and I ended up after 10 minutes, if I was lucky, on the end of a bit of a horror tackle, so it wasn’t a great start, to be fair.

“It was a big change. The reason for it was that I know Max through work and he’s tried to get me to play for him for quite a few years and Max and my boss are childhood friends, so I know him in a professional capacity and, in fairness, he made a huge effort to get me.

“That’s why in the end I felt it was the right thing to go and try it because there were ambitions there to go and try to compete at the top of the table. That was the big thing for me, but, as football is, sometimes things don’t go to plan.

“Really, I think we were unfortunate in a lot of instances with injuries to key players and things like that, but ultimately we kind of fell short of where I felt we should have been.

“I enjoyed working with Max but it was just disappointing that probably what we were both hoping for never transpired.”

United finished last campaign in 11th place in the 18-team table, with 45 points from 34 games, two places and eight points better off than Rovers, but Galbraith is hoping to see the Borderers competing higher up in the league next time round.

The former Manchester United and Heart of Midlothian youth player’s other previous clubs include Limerick, York City and Edinburgh City.

Berwick-born Smith, 28, formerly a Gala Fairydean youth player, returns to Netherdale from Edinburgh’s Spartans, having previously turned out for the likes of Stenhousemuir, Dunfermline Athletic, Forfar Athletic, Peterhead and Edinburgh City.

He returned to Netherdale for a friendly during his time at the capital club, now in League 1, and scored twice in a 4-1 victory against Rovers in June 2018.

Goodfellow, 29, was last at Edinburgh City, and the Earlston-raised goalkeeper’s previous clubs include Dunfermline Athletic, Cowdenbeath, East Fife and Albion Rovers.