HIS days may be long, but Raith Rovers goalkeeper and Cardonald College Glasgow lecturer David McGurn is not one to complain.
By Stuart Findlay and Craig Palmer
ALONGSIDE his day job as a sports lecturer at the college, David McGurn has been Raith Rovers’ number one between the sticks for the past four seasons.
The 31 year old works at the college through the week, trains with Rovers on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and coaches with the SFA on Monday and Wednesday nights, allowing himself a brief respite on a Friday night before he faces off against the strikers of the First Division on a Saturday.
“It’s tough balancing it,” he said. “It’s long days, but that’s what I signed up for so I can’t complain too much.”
David began lecturing at Cardonald five years ago on a part-time basis, while he was still playing full-time football with Greenock Morton.
He studied at Cardonald and later at Paisley University before he began his professional career at Morton in 2002. He said: “I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do when I was at school. I knew I wanted to be involved in sport, whether it be development, teaching or coaching.
“Coaching is the first step on the ladder, so I got my first job at 18 with the SFA and did that through college and university, and then the opportunity came for full-time football so I went into that with my education behind me.”
The career of a professional footballer can be a short one, and David made a wise move by getting his qualifications before moving into playing full-time, even if it was not a deliberate.
“It was just the way it happened,” he said. “I didn’t have the opportunity to go full-time when I was 16. Full-time football is great though. You train for a couple of hours a day in the morning, and then you’re away back home.
“I had a great time with Morton, we were in the Third Division when I went there. We won that, and then we won the Second Division as well, so I was able to go right up through the divisions with them.”
David, who also runs Cardonald College’s football team, moved to Raith Rovers from Morton in 2008 and won the Second Division championship in his first season.
Two years ago he was part of the Raith team that reached Scottish Cup semi-final before losing narrowing to eventual champions Dundee Utd at Hampden.
He said: “The Scottish Cup semi-final was a highlight. It was a great occasion and a great day so that’s my best memory from my playing career.”
Raith have struggled so far this season and find themselves sitting second bottom of the First Division and in a battle to avoid relegation, a marked change from last season when they came close to achieving promotion to the Scottish Premier League.
David said: “Between fourth and ninth it is still very tight. It’s a very tight league, but over the last couple of weeks we have picked up and I think we can kick on from there.”
Last year, three games stood between Raith and promotion. In the end, Dunfermline went on to secure the top spot and joined the top-flight of Scottish Football.
If Raith had secured a place in the SPL, there could have been new contract possibilities for David – possibly paving the way back into full-time football.
David remains unsure on whether a future promotion would see him taking football up full-time once again. “The opportunity and the contract would have to be right,” he said.
“The college is a great place to work, but you just don’t know what will happen in the future. So it’s something you’ve got to consider.”
However, David did admit that an offer to go back to full-time football would still be a very tempting one.
“You don’t want to regret anything when you’re older, try and grasp all of your opportunities,” he said.
For now, David hopes to finish the season on a positive note and take things from there.
“My contract is up at the end of the season, so I just need to wait and see what happens, whether I am able to stay at Raith or if I am somewhere else.”