YOKER Athletic striker Gary Arbuckle came off the bench to secure Yoker’s 1-1 draw against Kilsyth Rangers on Saturday, but it could all have been very different.

After a four-year stint with Clyde back in 2004, Arbuckle made the move to Queen of the South in 2008.

However, in January 2009 the player suffered a triple leg break against Greenock Morton.

After stints in the juniors since, Arbuckle is just thankful that he is able to play again.

He said: “It just happened in a tackle, it’s just one of these things that you never expect to happen to you. I was in hospital for 10 days, and five operations later I eventually got released from hospital.

“I’ve got pins and screws in my leg still, and another follow-up operation six months after that to get some screws removed.

“Thankfully it’s healed as well as it can and it’s good to play in any capacity after that.

“It was around two years he was out of football, I was on crutches for six months because of complications during the first surgery, and it was quite hard for me at that time.”

Arbuckle remained on his contract at Queen’s until the end of the 2008/9 season, and the club supported him after that to help him get back on track. But in the end, it came down to one person to get his fitness back.

He added: “The guys at Queens were really good at supporting me, but I had to do it for myself, get myself to the gym and get myself back fit.

“Not even just for football, but just to do anything.”

While he would have maybe liked to have had another crack at Senior Football, life has moved on for the 32-year-old, and when he started Junior Football he was surprised by the high standard of some of the players.

He said: “It would have been nice to back but I don’t know whether I could have.

“Juniors has been good so far, I’m surprised by some of the standards, you can see that a lot of players move on to seniors.”

One such footballer to make the move from juniors to seniors is Arbuckle’s former colleague Doug Imrie, who has had spells with both Inverness and Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership, after starting at Lanark.

But Arbuckle has enjoyed his time at Yoker, and in his five years with the Whe-Ho has seen a lot of ins and outs, including managerial changes.

He always pinned his boss Steven Reilly as someone who would make the move to management, after taking up the reins of Athletic last year after being player/manager.

He added: “You could always see that Steph had that in him, he was always a talker and a leader on the park, and it’s his natural progression and he’s taken to it like a duck to water.

“He obviously got help from Martin who was here last year and played senior, and Graeme who has been in football for many years assisting him.”

And while the Holm Park side have started well this season, the striker knows from previous experiences to not get carried away at this early stage of the season.

Arbuckle said: “It’s started off really well, we’re unbeaten and we’re not going to take anything for granted.

“We’re 10 games unbeaten since the start however it’s only the start, and we’re only four league games in.

“We had a positive start last season as well and we had a bit of a lull and ended up fighting for relegation. 

“It has been a decent start but we know that there is still plenty of work left to do.”