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Smith relishing Palmy return

Ex-QoS star can't wait for derby clashes

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By Zac Hannay
Sport
Smith relishing Palmy return
SUCCESS . . . Aidan Smith finally secured promotion with Annan in his third play-off attempt

ANNAN Athletic’s record goalscorer and Dumfries native Aidan Smith is buzzing at the prospect of going up against his old club at least four times next season.

The Black and Gold’s promotion into league one means they will go head-to-head with their near neighbours and close rivals Queen of the South in the same division for the first time ever.

And after officially penning a new deal at Galabank this week, Smith is set to go up against his hometown club in League One wearing black and gold.

Since exiting Palmerston in 2017, the forward, now 26, has turned into a prominent player in the Scottish lower leagues.

He first joined Annan on-loan from the Doonhamers in January 2017 and he signed a permanent deal at Galabank during the summer of that year as incoming boss Peter Murphy swooped to sign a number of Queens players.

Following play-off heartbreak against Clyde in 2019, Smith headed for Peterhead in League One. However, he returned to Galabank a year later.

He had to contend with another play-off final defeat last year as FC Edinburgh agonisingly pipped Annan to promotion.

But persistence and belief from the squad paid dividends a season later, and Smith starred as Athletic stormed to promotion glory.

This season he has racked up 11 goals, becoming the club’s record SPFL scorer, and notched four assists playing through the middle as well as out-wide.

Speaking after the recent play-off victory over the Bully Wee, Smith said: “The boys were absolutely excellent.

“I can’t lie, when they scored in the first minute of the second half it was squeaky bum time. But the boys dug in and they were absolutely excellent.”

The forward made it third time lucky in the play-off finals and admitted it felt good to get revenge against Clyde.

Smith added: “As soon as I knew we were playing them it’s all I thought about.

“So it felt good. Very, very, good.

“I thought the boys were more than capable. We were confident going into it and we’re a good enough side.

“We won and that’s all that matters. We got the result and we’re up.”

Smith made 29 appearances for the first team at Queens and scored a couple of goals, both of which came against Rangers.

THROWBACK . . . Smith in his Queens days

When asked about facing his old side in League One next season, Smith said: “I cannot wait. It’ll be interesting. They will be good games with good atmospheres and I’m excited for that.

“I can walk to the Palmerston games!”

On signing a new deal, he added: “I’m delighted to commit my future to the club after such a great season.”

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