IT is almost 15 years since Keigan Parker first announced himself in Scottish football.
The striker can still make it sound as though it was only yesterday. Parker was considered to be the next big thing after making his debut for St Johnstone in May 1999 and he has likely grown used to being asked about how it used to be rather than how it is. His memories of his career are as well-kept as the neat facial hair which frames the face of the 31-year-old Airdrieonians forward.
Once a teenager with the world at his feet, his horizons have since retreated to the end of the season after he signed a short-term contract at the Excelsior Stadium. The deal has left Parker with a simple aim: to help the club in its struggle to avoid relegation from SPFL League 1 and he scored his first goal after turning out as a trialist in a crucial win over second-bottom Arbroath last month. "I had gone in to train with them for a spell, then scored against them . . ." he said. "It's weird the way that football works sometimes."
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That brief trial had allowed Parker to work up to a return to the senior game in Scotland, his previous two moves having taken him to Irish club Cork City and then the junior game - signing first at Irvine Meadow then Shettleston.
The career path which led him to Greenfield Park might appear to have become overgrown since the former Scotland under-21 forward would find himself in Monaco for a European tie in just his first full season at McDiarmid Park, although he has not been without direction.
More recent seasons have been less glamorous - he ended the 2011-12 campaign at Ayr United after joining from English non-league team AFC Fylde - but a move to Shettleston would also allow him to begin coaching in earnest. It was a role which agreed with the forward and Parker may have found that the players under his charge were rapt quickly by references to his past career. He is able to drop so many names it would not be surprising had one or two left an impression.
"I broke into the St Johnstone team when I was 16 and went with the squad to Monaco, when they had [Thierry] Henry, [David] Trezeguet, [Fabien] Barthez," said Parker.
"Then when I moved down south I played against big teams, like Tottenham. I've played against plenty of other teams, against Arsenal when I was at Huddersfield, with Theo Walcott and Robin Van Persie in their team. I also played against Manchester United in a reserve match when I was at Oldham and they had [Nemanja] Vidic and Anderson playing . . . they beat us 7-0 and I think I touched the ball about five times."
He will hope any touch he gets between now and June proves significant. Parker will be part of the squad travelling to Fife to play Dunfermline Athletic on Saturday and he retains a striker's simple sense of direction. "Hopefully, I can score some goals," he said.