Few footballers can say that their career has taken them from Cumbernauld to California, with a stop at Kentucky in between. That is a part of the journey that has brought midfielder Ross Lindsay to Newlandsfield.
We sat down with the midfielder to discuss a fascinating career, featuring some big names and some big moves.
What are your earliest memories of football and what were the first clubs you played for?
My earliest memories of football are probably the same as most boys, just being out on the streets either kicking a ball about myself, or down the park with my pals playing all hours of the day. I went into St Mirren when I was around four or five at their community coaching sessions and then got picked up from there.
You came through the academies of both St Mirren and Kilmarnock – what did you take away from your experiences at such a well-established clubs, and who did you play alongside?
Both clubs were great for me. I was at St Mirren from about five years old until I was 15/16. The coaching was brilliant and I played with a lot of great players. The best and biggest names I played with there were probably John McGinn & Kenny McLean.
I then moved to Kilmarnock after not going to get a chance at St Mirren due to playing in the position as the above two! I loved my time at Killie. The coaching were great and we were allowed to play good football. I was there with Mixu Paatelainen & Kenny Shiels who wanted to us to pass the ball around which I loved. A lot of my teammates at Killie went on to play at senior levels like Matty Kennedy, Rory McKenzie & Mark O’Hara to name a few.
Next up was your first foray into senior football with Clyde. How different was this from U20/Reserve football and how did you adapt?
Going from full time U20s football, to training twice at week at night with men took some time to get used to. It was a lot more physical instead of the typical passing football that most academy teams play.
Who would you say is the best player you have played with and against in your career?
With – Probably the best/biggest namedrop is Riyad Mahrez. When he infamously came over for a trial at St Mirren, I played in midfield with him in a game at Ferguslie Sports Centre in Paisley where he scored two. I would also say Kenny McLean & Matty Kennedy would be the ones that I played with regularly at youth level who were the best. If I can count training, I also had a few sessions with Alexei Eremenko at Killie who was unbelievable. Some of his touches and the passes that he could play were brilliant.
Against – I played a reserve game against Paddy McCourt at Celtic who was brilliant. He would glide across the park with the ball glued to his foot.
After a year at Clyde, you crossed the Atlantic and enrolled at Campbellsville University in Kentucky, turning out for their CU Tigers football team. How did this move come about.
At Clyde I felt that I was not being involved as much as I should have been. I wanted to do something different where I could see a bit of the world, get back into a full-time environment and also look to get a degree. I got in touch with a US scholarship agency called Soccer Innovation who got in touch with different universities and sent my highlight video out to them. I decided to go to Campbellsville University who were based in a small town in Kentucky. I liked what the coach had to say, and liked that the team had a lot of international players who I could learn from on and off the park.
How different was being a footballer in US to being a player in Scotland at this time, and was it a challenge to balance the playing career with your studies?
Very different! We trained every day there. During pre-season or “Hell week” as they called it, we would train three times a day starting at 6am running up hills with teammates on your back. It took some time to get used to and to acclimatise with the humidity and heat being up at 40 degrees on some days. It took time as well to effectively combine it with my studies as we would train and then you would have breakfast and then go straight to your classes for the day.
You also turned out for the tremendously named Thunder Bay Chill in Canada, before moving to California with Fresno Fuego in California. What was that like?
I loved my time at Thunder Bay Chill. It was a small town in Canada but we played in the PDL League (now USL League 2). It was a great setup and they really looked after you. Again, I played with a lot of good players from different countries whom I got to know really well and I still keep in touch with some of them today.
Fresno Fuego was a different experience. Also in the USL League 2, they played in the baseball team’s stadium and would get big crowds. With it being in the middle of California, a lot of the population were Hispanics, as were a lot of my teammates so I stood out! There was a lot of quick, technical football being played there which I enjoyed.
Overall, how was your experience of playing overseas and what did you learn from your time in North America?
I loved it. I got to travel across pretty much all of North America playing against different types of players from all over the world. I learned a lot from them and from their culture which helped me on and off the park.
You returned to Scotland with Broomhill in 2018. Having spent a couple of years out of the country, how did that move come about and were you glad to be back in Scotland?
I came home from the US after five years and was just looking to get in at as high a level as I possibly could. The move came about through Thomas Collins (at Clydebank). He knew the manager who then asked me to come in. It took time to adjust as I felt the football was 100mph compared to the States but I slowly adapted to it.
After three years at Broomhill, you then moved to Caledonian Braves where you were coached by former Pollok forward David Winters and played alongside Scott Forrester and Luke Main. As a non-traditional club with the bulk of their support being online, what was it like to be involved with them?
It was interesting to say the least. As a relatively new club in an area where there are a lot of established clubs, they were always trying to grow the fan base locally and online. There would always be something new that the social media team would get the boys doing which you had to get comfortable with. I loved my time there. The coaching staff were excellent and they brought in a good group of younger players which created a great environment where the boys could pass the ball and play with freedom.
When did you first hear that Pollok were interested in signing you, and what was your reaction?
It was actually through Scott! I think Stewart Maxwell and Chris McFadyen came to watch a Braves game to see Scott and I had a half decent game. They liked what they saw and kept an eye on me from there. It was exciting as I knew how big a club Pollok were and I liked what the management team had to say. Before the interest, Davie Winters always spoke about how good a time he had with his brother Robbie at Pollok.
The crowds at Newlandsfield are a different beast from Broomhill and Braves. How do you handle the pressure of playing in front of a demanding fan base?
I just try and play my own game to be honest, but the crowds have been excellent so far. They come in their numbers and get behind the team, giving us that extra push when things aren’t going our way.
You have settled in well at Pollok with some strong early performances. How have you enjoyed your first couple of months?
I’ve enjoyed it a lot. We have some great players in the team and know that across the full squad, anyone can come in and play. It keeps you on your toes as you know that if you are not performing, then someone will come in and take your place.
What are your aims for this season, both on a personal level and in terms of what you think the team can achieve?
Just to play as many games as possible and to contribute as much as possible to help the team. I think we can go far in all the competitions we are in. For the league, we just need to grind out more results and I think we should be up there if we do that.