|The life of Brian||7th October 2004|
Brian Reid towered fully six inches above me as he ambled into the dressing room for 'Player Chat' and it was hard to credit that this 'Gentle Giant' battled through European ties and Cup Finals in days gone by. A 'Buddie', born in Paisley, Brian said he was more or less playing football as soon as he could walk. He rose through the ranks of Boys' Club sides before signing for Morton at the age of 17. He well remembers holding Motherwell to a draw in the Scottish Cup but Morton lost the replay (after a penalty shoot-out) and the Fir Park side went on to win the cup that season. But it certainly put the young Brian Reid in the spotlight and several big clubs started showing an interest in the 20-year-old.
He enjoyed those early days at Cappilow with team-mates like Derek McInnes and Alan Mahood but it was a 'dream come true' when in 1991 he was signed by mighty Glasgow Rangers. "I remember it well" he recalls. "The late great Brian Clough had made a bid to take me to Nottingham Forest but then I heard that Graeme Souness was interested in signing me for Rangers. Morton had always said that 'the final decision was mine' so although Forest's offer was £50,000 more, there was only one place I was going to end up. I was to be Souness' last signing before he left for Liverpool, so Walter Smith was to be my 'gaffer' after that.
"Walking through the main door at Ibrox and up the famous marble stairway was one of the best moments of my life but only two months later came one of my worst. I was playing against St Mirren in a testimonial match for Campbell Money when I got caught by a late tackle. At the time I thought my leg was broken and on hindsight I wish it had been. It turned out to be a dreaded cruciate injury which saw me sidelined for nine months.
"I only managed about 25 first team appearances in my four years with Rangers but always regretted never playing in an 'Old Firm' game. However, it was extremely difficult to break into the big team at that time with players like 'Gazza', Brian Laudrup, Ally McCoist, Mark Hately and, of course, Andy Goram around. In fact, almost everyone at Ibrox in those days was an internationalist. 'Gazza' was a real joker and you had to watch out for his pranks all the time. After training one day I'd just run a nice warm soapy bath for myself when 'Gazza' pushed me aside and jumped in before me. After five minutes he came out and said 'It's all yours now big man' but knowing his reputation I didn't trust him and politely turned down the offer. It was just as well for, as the bubbles cleared, three very unsavoury floating objects were to be seen. But that's 'Gazza' for you.
"I did get to play in a European Cup qualifier for Rangers. It was at home against Famagusta from Cyprus, we won 1-0 and then went through 2-1 on aggregate. So I enjoyed that experience! I was also capped for Scotland Under-21s in a competition in France and named as 'Defender of the Tournament' which was a great honour.
"After four enjoyable years at Ibrox I moved back to Morton for 18 months and during that spell we were just pipped for promotion. Then it was on to Burnley and Dunfermline before signing for Blackpool in August 2000. I was two and a half years 'beside the seaside' and my highlight at Bloomfield Road was beating Leyton Orient 4-2 in the final of the Auto Windscreen Shield, and I scored one of them. It was played at the National Stadium in Cardiff and that was some experience.
"Following that I returned to Scotland to join Falkirk but it was six months I'd rather forget. They knew I was carrying an injury at the time and wasn't fully fit but they didn't take that into account and 'freed' me at the end of the season without giving me a chance to prove myself. So I was happy when John Connolly came along signed me for Queens and happier still that we beat Falkirk four times last season without conceding a goal.
"John was a good manager and a very successful one. I always got on well with him and there's nothing bad I can say about John. But I'm also enjoying working with 'Scotty' and 'Wasa'. They're a great pair and nothing has really changed much since they took over as they were always in charge of all the training. I'm now First Team coach and I work a lot with the Under-19s and it's a satisfying job just seeing these young players improving.
"We've a great bunch of lads at Palmerston at present and there's a tremendous atmosphere in the dressing-room. They're no 'prima donnas' and I think that's the secret of our success. But we do have some real characters such as Jim Thomson and Davy Bagan, however some of the young players' dress sense leaves a lot to be desired. Take Stephen Payne for example, he's like something from the 'Starsky and Hutch' era" he laughed.
But, confessed Brian "I only wish I could get a few more goals. I've only scored once since coming to Palmerston and at my previous clubs I usually averaged about three a year. I put it all down to a poor quality of cross balls" he said with a big smile.
What do you like most about Queen of the South? we asked. Said 'Reidy' "They're a real family club and everyone works for each other. The supporters are fantastic, I've met quite a few of them and told them the noise they make, especially away from home, is unbelievable and all the players appreciate it".
Brian is now 34 and a happily married man. He and his wife Christine now live in Glasgow and have two of a family, Kyle (6) and Christina (3). He concludes "Kyle was a match-day mascot against Clyde a few weeks ago and it brought a lump in my throat when I saw him run on to the park with all his gear on that afternoon". A 'Gentle Giant' indeed.