NAIRN County have secured their second summer signing in as many days after beating off interest from elsewhere in the Highland League to bring Adam Naismith back from Huntly.
The 27-year-old was sold to the Christie Park outfit last summer but after only 12 months with the Black and Golds, he is back with the club he represented for almost three-and-a-half seasons from March 2013 having signed a three-year contract earlier today.
“I am delighted to be back,” he said. “It is a club I know well – I pretty much know everybody here. As soon as I found out about the club’s interest, coming back was always something that I wanted to do.
“My brother, Ross still plays here and that was a big factor in my decision. It is a club that is building and is going in the right direction. Last season was a difficult season for the club but they did well and I wanted to come back and be a part of it moving forward.
“I am dad now and it is a nice ground for my daughter to come down and watch me play over the next few years. It is a family-orientated club and I feel that coming back here is the best move for me and my family at this stage of my career.”
Naismith sees no problems for himself settling in despite the large turnover of players since the last time he pulled on a Nairn jersey.
He said: “Although I have been away for a year, I have still kept an eye out for what the scores were and the majority of the boys who were on the fringes of the team when I was here before are now playing more regularly. I obviously played a lot alongside the likes of Hen (Glenn Main) and Easter (Gregg Main) but you have Kerrso (Gary Kerr) back now and Callum Maclean and Kenny (McKenzie) were here when I was here before.
“Dylan (Maclean) has come in and done well in goal and Jordan (Macrae) and Jack (Maclean) were in the young team when I was here before. They have now come through and done well as well.
“I know the majority of the boys, although there will be one or two new faces. From what I saw last season, they all did really well in the games against Huntly anyway.”
The saying ‘in football, never go back’ is clearly a theory that Naismith is looking to dispel.
“That is twice now, so it obviously does not apply to me!” he stated. “I feel as if I have unfinished business. I cut short my time here last time but I feel that I have a lot more to give the club. I am 27 and I have a few more miles left on the clock. I am looking to getting started again.
“I want to get myself in the team as quickly as I can. The manager has worked with the boys here over the last year and he knows what they can give. I will have to prove to him that I am worthy of playing – I am not expecting to just rock up and play because I know that is not how he works. I am looking forward to pre-season and I will get my head down and try to get some games in as quickly as I can.”
He added: “It never seemed to work out at Huntly for different reasons. I never got as much game time as I felt I should have but that is down to the manager’s discretion. I am hoping to get to playing football and that is one of the main reasons I have come back.”
Another attraction was working alongside his new manager, Ronnie Sharp having had a brief spell under the County boss prior to his departure.
He revealed: “I had three sessions with Sharpie before I left last year and I enjoyed it. There was a lot of ball work whereas every other pre-season I have done, there is not much of that but Sharpie wanted us to do fitness work with the ball, which makes it a lot more interesting than just running constantly. You could see that he knew what he was doing and he knew what he wanted to do with the players that he had from the drills that he put on. I have no doubt that he will be a good coach for me and he will help me to progress and improve.”
Sharp was delighted to add another priority target to the squad ahead of the new season.
He said: “Last season, I only dealt with Adam for a couple of weeks but I could see right away that he was a very professional and good player. Bringing him in gives us experience – he knows the club and he is 27 years of age, so he is coming into the prime of his career.
“From what I have seen of him, he is a very good player and hopefully he will bring his experience and his qualities into the club. We needed players in who know the Highland League and can give us that experience. We had a lot of young boys last season who performed really well but we needed to bring in players like the two Adams (Porritt and Naismith) to help them out and improve them because a lot of them are still only 18 or 19.
“We are looking to push on up the league with the quality of player that we are bringing in. I have seen Adam play in both full back positions and in the centre of the park and it is the full back areas where we needed to strengthen and we have covered that now with the two players who have come in.
“That was in the plans going into the off-season. We were looking about for boys who could do that and Adam Naismith’s name came up as a possibility. I was delighted when we were able to talk to him and he sounded really positive about coming and we managed to do the deal to bring him in.”
Sharp is looking for his latest capture to step up and be one of the senior players in the dressing room straight away.
He said: “He was here for a few years before, so he knows the club and he knows what goes on around about the place and that was probably an attraction for him. It is also close to Inverness, where he stays and maybe moving away last summer was not the right move for him. Hopefully, he is delighted to be back because we are delighted to get him as he brings quality to our team and we are hoping that he will improve us.”
Naismith made 115 appearances for the club during his first spell at Station Park and scored seven goals.
He started his Highland League career at Clachnacuddin after coming through the youth ranks at Ross County, bagging six goals in 69 appearances for the Grant Street side.
His first spell with Huntly from 2010 to 2013 yielded two goals in 103 appearances before that switch to Nairn and his season-long second spell at Christie Park saw him add another 23 appearances to his overall Huntly tally.