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Reilly hopes to fire Queens back up

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By Euan Maxwell
Sport
Reilly hopes to fire Queens back up

STRIKER Gavin Reilly believes he’s returned to Queen of the South as an “all-round better player” and hopes he can help fire them back to the Championship at the first time of asking.

The Gretna-born player enjoyed a tremendous first spell at the club, coming up through the youth ranks and then burst onto the first-team scene where he helped the Doonhamers to the Second Division title and Challenge Cup success in 2013. 

Reilly also played a massive part in Queens’ two Premiership play-off campaigns before leaving the club for pastures new in 2015.

After some successful and not so successful spells north and south of the border, Reilly has come back after seven years away and he believes he has improved as a player during that time.

Reilly – who has featured for a number of clubs including Hearts, St Mirren, Livingston, Bristol Rovers, Cheltenham Town and Carlisle United – said: “I think I’m definitely physically stronger than my last spell here, I was quite slight then.  I think the experience I’ve gained over the last few years; I’ve got a lot of appearances under my belt and hopefully a few more goals to add to that. 

“I think I’m an all-round better player and hopefully I can use it to the advantage of the team.”

Reilly has endured some lengthy spells on the sidelines in the past few years but he is adamant his injury nightmares are behind him now.

Speaking about the last couple of years of his career, he said: “There’s definitely been a good few ups but a couple of downs. Last season it was good to get out and get games for Morton and score a couple of goals. 

“I picked up a bad injury at the tail of the year before covid. Then I came back and went to Carlisle but I still wasn’t over that injury and never really got a lot of game time until I went to Livingston. 

“But then covid hit and it was a disaster. I got covid and had to isolate and then suffered another really bad injury.  But I think I’m over that now. Last year proved that in terms of getting game time week-in week-out. I feel like I’m in a good place to get a full pre-season under my belt.”

Rumours had bubbled around Dumfries for a few weeks that Reilly could make the grand return to Palmerston Park. 

And now the dust has settled, Reilly revealed coming back to the club was perfect timing and it was the best option for him.

He said: “It’s good to be back. I’ve always said I would come back and I felt the timing was right. 

“The gaffer got in touch with me as soon as the season ended. I’ve played with the gaffer and now I’m looking forward to working under him now.

“I had to assess all the options as I’ve got a young family to look after and I did have to weigh things up but at the end of the day I thought this was the best option for me. 

“It was disappointing for the club to get relegated last season and hopefully we can bounce back as quickly as we can. It’s an exciting project to be part of.” 

The 29-year-old is currently the second oldest member in the dressing room – with only player/manager Gibson older – and he believes he can help the young squad with his experience.

Reilly said: “I’m one of the oldest ones in the team so hopefully my experience can help the team. 

“If you take the gaffer out of it then I’m the oldest player in the squad. It’s hard to take because I’m still under 30. 

“There’s a lot of younger players and they are of a very good standard, they will be helping and pushing us first team players on. 

“There’s the makings of a good squad already and I imagine we’ll add some more players in the coming weeks. 

“It’s an exciting time and I’m looking forward to the first games coming up. We want to be competitive in this league. 

“I think it’s going to be hard as there’s obviously good teams in League One, but I think if we can add another couple of players then there’s no reason why we can’t be challenging at the top of the league.”

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