Motherwell winger Darren Smith today paid tribute to the ‘Well fans as his eight years at Fir Park came to an end.
Local boy Smith, 22, made his debut for the Steelmen as a fresh-faced sixteen-year-old back in the autumn of 2004 as an 88th minute substitute for Scott McDonald against Inverness CT at Pittodrie.
Since then, the winger has gone on to appear 71 times in Claret and Amber and scored some vital goals along the way. However, as a former East Stand Season Ticket holder, Smith wanted to thank the fans before he left the club for the last time.
Speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, Smith said, “It’s quite sad and emotional for me as my time at Motherwell has come to an end.
“I’ve had a great time here and I have nothing but fond memories. Not many people get the opportunity to come and play for the team they supported when they were younger. I used to sit in the East Stand with my friends when I was at school and a couple of years later I was out on the pitch playing which was a great honour and privilege for me.
“It’s really been great and I am really thankful to everybody, particularly the fans who have always been fantastic with me. I’ve always been treated so well; people in the street or outside the club, after games, have always chatted away, gave me a lot of respect and supported me and for that I am extremely grateful and appreciative.”
After his contract expiring at Fir Park, Smith’s main focus is to find a new club and put the last twelve-months behind him.
And, with 8 goals from 19 starts including appearances in the UEFA Cup, it’s little wonder there’s already a great deal of interest in the former Scotland U21 star.
“I look back with some pride at what I managed to achieve,” he said.
“I scored some important goals, I seemed to pop up at the right time; thinking back to the last-minute goal to get a draw against Celtic and the goal against Aberdeen in the game we secured third spot under Mark McGhee.
“But I’ve had a bad season with injuries which has been particularly disappointing. It is all about getting my career back on track, playing regular first-team football, scoring goals and enjoying it again.
“It’s been a frustrating time lately but I am still very thankful to do the job that I do. Sometimes though, in this sport, you need to take one step back to go two forward. If that has to be the case now then so be it. I just want to get back playing; I know I can do it. I know I have the ability, I have scored goals here and played at the highest level (SPL and UEFA Cup) so I just need someone to take a chance on me.
“In the meantime, I’ll keep myself fit over the summer so if I do get a shot, I will give myself the best possible chance.”