By Jack Crawford

Sons defender Craig Barr has revealed making the move to part-time football has given him a new lease of life, and he plans to use it to help Dumbarton climb the Championship table.

Barr joined Dumbarton in the summer on a 2-year-deal after a career with full-time teams such as Livingston, Raith Rovers and Queen of the South.

And while he confesses it has been a difficult change, he says the extra time for his body to recover is a major benefit.

He said: “It was certainly a big change for me. I used the move in a positive way in terms of letting my body recover after a lot of the strains that were put on me in the way of injury and I think I’m benefitting from it in at least the games I’ve played so far. I think I am reaping the rewards for it and taking it is a positive.”

The 30-year-old also had a spell at Östersunds FK of Sweden – a move which he is glad that he made.

Former Morton man Brian Wake, who was coaching Ostersunds at the time, contacted Barr about making the switch to Sweden and he joined in July 2013.

He said: “I was at that stage of my career where I was looking to test myself. I had played in the Championship for six or seven years and I just thought I’ll give it a go and I’m certainly glad I did.

“The standard of football was better over there. I don’t think we give it enough credit.

“We have our blinkers on and think that everything we do is the best way but in small countries like Sweden and the small towns where I was living the standard was good and the recruitment was good.

“The people were good and the team I was at are now in the top league and in the Europa League beating Hertha Berlin and Galatasaray.

"They’re a small town of about 60,000 people so it’s a massive achievement for them and shows how well they’ve came on.”

The defender made 16 appearances for the Swedish side before moving back home to sign for Airdrie in February 2014 and admitted some things are just more important than football – but didn’t rule out playing abroad again.

He said: “There were some beautiful cities and it was definitely a good refresher for me spending six or seven months away from Scotland.

"In hindsight I maybe should have stayed when I was given the opportunity but I came home to start a family and I’m happy where I am right now.

“I think I would do it again. I’ve maybe missed the boat in terms of my age and being married with a kid. It’s not unreachable but it would be more of a hassle.

“I would say to any young footballer thinking about it that’s maybe had setbacks in Scotland that it’s not the end of it, there is countries out there that can fit your ability and you can still make a living out of the game.”

Barr has started to look at his career away from the pitch after becoming a part-time footballer, but finding the right job is a decision that he will take his time over.

He said: “I’ve got a freelance web design business on the go just now. I’m looking at more secure jobs in other areas and industries but I don’t want to rush into it as it’s a big decision.

“I’m just waiting to see and hoping something will come along. I’ve still got 30 years ahead of me so I want to make sure it’s the right industry.”

Dumbarton have been drawn to play Craig’s former side, Raith Rovers, in the Quarter-Finals of the Irn-Bru Cup, with the defender moving from Rovers to the Rock during the summer.

Barr, along with David Smith, Mark Stewart, Chris Johnston, Dougie Hill, Danny Handling and Christian Nade have all had spells at Stark's Park, with Lewis Vaughan also on loan at the Rock last season.

And it's a tie which he is looking forward to.

He said: “It’s like a Raith v Raith game! It’ll be a good occasion and at the end of the day we want to win. I’ve still got a lot of friends at Raith and a lot of time for the club, chairman and the board.

“I hope they get back into the Championship and have success this year – just not in the Irn-Bru Cup.

“Any cup you’re in, you’re in it to win it. You want to get past whoever it is so it’d be a good achievement for the club to get to a semi-final and that’s what we’re setting out to do.”