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  • Mark Docherty fan of Black & Gold 

    Saturday, January 14, 2012 5:41:48 AM

    Docherty is a fan of Black and Gold
    The Match of the Day in the Third Division this weekend takes place at Recreation Park between the promotion chasing Athletic sides of Alloa and Annan. The clubs had never faced each other in action until last season’s Second Division Play-Off Semi-Finals and they have now met five times in quick succession.
    There has been one League game and two Scottish Cup meetings as well as the two legged Play-Offs and the Galabank men lead the way after three wins and two draws.
    One player who has played in all the meetings is Mark Docherty although he was worn two different shades of gold and black to do so with the Alloa man now looking to help his side to that first ever win over previous boss Harry Cairney’s outfit this weekend.
    Docherty played for Annan in last season’s Play-Offs whilst on loan as a Brechin City player before switching to Clackmannanshire and the left sided player, who has already made one journey from the Third Division to full-time football, is hoping that starring for Alloa will see him make a repeat journey back to being a full-timer.
    The 23-year-old started off at his home town club of Albion Rovers before moving to the SPL as he explained: “I was with the youth set-up at Albion from when I was a kid of 13. I then got the chance to move to St. Mirren and that was a great opportunity.
    “I played in the first team against Gretna and living the life of a full-time footballer was great and it remains my ambition to get back to that. Indeed, I was on trial with my Paisley Managers Gus MacPherson and Andy Millen during the summer and although they could not offer me a deal at Queen of the South, they helped me continue my career at Alloa.”
    Docherty was at Love Street from 2005 until 2008 and he also gained first team experience in the Third Division at Montrose.
    He explained: “I went there as Kevin McGowne was the assistant to Jim Weir and he had been the captain at St. Mirren. I was only 17 but gained great experience and scored my first senior goals against Arbroath and Berwick.”
    On leaving St. Mirren, Docherty moved to Second Division Stirling Albion and their Manager at the time, Allan Moore, left a lasting impression with the Alloa man saying: “Allan is a really good Manager and I keep in touch with him still. He is always enthusiastic and despite being the boss, he enjoys being one of the boys and goes on nights out with them. He gets you to want to play well for him.”
    After a year at Stirling, Docherty faced a spell out the game and he was due to play in the Daily Record’s 'Gie us a Game' programme when he got a phone call from then Brechin City boss Jim Duffy.
    Docherty said: “I was due to play in a 'Gie us a Game' match at Clyde where lots of scouts had been booked in but Jim called and asked me to play for Brechin in a friendly. I went there and played and after the game, I was offered a six month contract. Jim explained he could not give me a longer deal based on only one game but if I did okay, he would extend it. I decided to take that opportunity.
    “Jim was as good as his word as after a few months, I was given an improved 18 month deal. We got to the promotion Play-Offs that season after defeating Airdrie in the Semi-Finals and faced Cowdenbeath in the Final.”
    It was to end in disappointment as Docherty said: “It was a strange week as Stirling, still under Allan, won the League at our Glebe Park ground so I watched my old team-mates celebrating whilst knowing we still had the chance of going up via the Play-Offs.
    “We did well in the first game at Cowdenbeath and drew 0-0 but in the second leg, they gave us a bit of a doing in the first half and were 3-0 ahead.”
    Duffy left in the aftermath of that campaign and Jim Weir came in and altered the Glebe Park squad with Docherty finding himself squeezed out of a midfield role as he explained: “We had seven or eight midfielders looking for starting positions and the club also brought in Calum Booth from Hibs so I was finding myself on the bench more and more often.”
    Brechin drew Annan in the Scottish Cup and Galabank Manager Harry Cairney used the replay between the sides last January as an opportunity to discuss a loan move to the club.
    Docherty took him up on the offer saying: “I wanted to play so I took the chance and I went there and started featuring a lot on the left hand side of midfield and then Harry also used me at left back. I scored a good goal against East Stirling not long after I joined and I enjoyed my spell there with a good bunch of lads.”
    Play-Off disappointment was experienced again with the pain a lot sharper this time as Docherty said: “We beat Alloa at Galabank and then drew at their place to go through to the Final against Albion Rovers. The first leg was at Coatbridge and a whole lot of my friends and family turned up to see the game and I made a mistake that cost us a goal. It was a real looking at the ground and hoping it would swallow you up moment.
    “We lost that first leg 3-1 and gave it a real go after going one down in the second. We turned it around to 2-1 and almost forced extra-time.”
    Docherty’s contract at Brechin had ended by this stage and he took up an offer from the recently installed management team at Queen of the South of MacPherson and Millen to train with them over the summer.
    Unfortunately, a move back to full-time football never transpired with Docherty saying: “I have a lot of respect for Gus and Andy and it was great to do a pre-season with them. It never quite worked out the way I would have liked it to as they cut their squad down to the bare bones. I never got offered a deal but Gus helped me sign for Alloa.
    “Paul Hartley had called him a couple of times about me and Gus had been positive. I know Paul’s assistant Paddy Connolly as well and I knew they were keen for me to go there. When nothing happened at Queens, I was happy to go to Alloa.”
    Docherty was one of a number of recruits that Hartley made as he rebuilt the Alloa squad although he did recognise one of the other faces that was brought in with Docherty saying: “I had played with Ryan McCord in various Scotland selects and against him at various age groups when he was with Dundee United and I was at St. Mirren. Ryan is like a lot of the players the Manager has brought in as they all like to pass the ball around.
    “We have a strong squad and have a good chance of winning the League but there is a long way to go. Stranraer, Annan and ourselves have been at the top for a wee while now and Queen’s Park will be there or thereabouts. We have a massive two weeks coming up with games against Annan and then Stranraer.”
    Docherty’s time at Alloa has almost been the reverse of his time at Annan as he started off at left back and is now playing in the left or centre of midfield as he explained: “Kevin McHattie has come in from Hearts on loan and done really well and that has allowed me to move further forward.”
    That move forward produced Docherty’s second goal of the season on Boxing Day when he was in the right place at the edge of the Elgin box to first time in a great drive to open the scoring in a 3-1 success.
    “It sat up perfectly for me,” said Docherty before adding, “And I got my body over it and it was probably the best goal of my career so far.”
    In terms of his footballing future, Docherty said: “It is all about Alloa at the moment but of course, I would like to jump the divisions and be full-time again. It was disappointing when it never happened in the summer so all I can do is play well and see what happens.”
    And as for Annan this weekend, Docherty said: “The Annan team has a couple of new faces since I was there and it was a good squad already. We are at home and have to use that to our advantage this time. We have gone 10 games in the League without defeat and are unbeaten at home all season so it would be great to add to those records with a win.
    “When we played at their place in the League, we simply never turned up – we have to turn up this time.”
     

    Interview taken from Scottish League Website

    Docherty scores v. Elgin City



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