THE opportunity to return to full-time football was too good for Dumbarton winger Andy Stirling to turn down.

The winger signed a two-year pre-contract with Queen of the South after speaking with Gary Naysmith earlier in the year.

The 27-year-old, who also works as a personal trainer, relished the opportunity to return to full-time football, after previously playing for Dunfermline Athletic and a former St Mirren academy product.

He said: “I went to speak to [Gary Naysmith] and I had no intention of doing anything, I just went to hear what he had to say, but he came across really well and I still get to keep my job as well, so it’s not as if I’m missing out on anything moving to full-time.

“They train at Cumbernauld as well, which is just around the corner from my house so it’s perfect. It just sounded right at the time, it’s a two-year deal as well. It’s a bit of security.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter:

“I took a few weeks to decide on it but decided to go ahead with it. It was in February, I kept it quiet and I didn’t want to make it public, people can judge you for your performances saying 'he doesn’t care'. I had signed and you can see what it meant to me on Saturday [against Queen of the South], I celebrated every goal.

“I’ve not even thought about next year, it’s more important staying up at the moment.

“We’re holding our own, and we’re not just here to make up the numbers. Teams don’t like playing against us, and that shows how well we are doing.

“Everyone wrote us off at the start of the season and favourites to go down but it just shows you how well we have done.”

The winger has enjoyed life in the Championship with the Sons, and after taking some time to settle into the starting line-up, having been in and out of the first eleven during the winter period.

But Stirling hopes he can help Sons to retain their Championship status for a sixth consecutive season, knowing they could seal it by Saturday if results go their way as the ideal parting gift.

He added: "It’s a good step up but I think I’ve done well since I came to Dumbarton. I’ve enjoyed it, and the fact that we’re competing with everyone throughout the Championship - we’ve beaten Dundee United twice, been unlucky not to beat Hibs.

"It's part and parcel with football [being out of the starting line-up] no matter how good or bad you are.

"It can happen to everyone, but if you couldn’t deal with it then you wouldn’t be playing football.

"I knew what I could do and I knew if I got a run in the team then I would cement my place.

"Credit to the gaffer for giving me time, maybe when I wasn’t performing as well at the start of the season he stuck with me and kept giving me chances.

"We just need to look after ourselves, we need to go and win and nothing else can change that."