CRAIG REID is clear about the debt he owes to Stuart McCall for granting him the financial security to enjoy his first summer in three years without worrying about where his next wage is coming from.
The defender just hopes the Motherwell manager will hang around Fir Park long enough to give him the opportunity to truly show his gratitude by virtue of his performances on the field.
Reid's uplifting story touches on so many of the problems affecting Scottish football right now. He has spent the last couple of years out-of-contract in pre-season, scuffling around for opportunities to prove himself at a higher level.
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After he was unable to secure a contract at Motherwell or Coventry City following trials this time last year, Reid returned to former club Morton on a short-term arrangement, only to be given the call to return to Lanarkshire as a free agent in February.
Reid agreed to play for nothing more than appearance money and bonuses and, fresh from scoring the last-gasp goal at Aberdeen which secured second place in the SPFL Premiership on the final day of the season, has since been rewarded with a two-year contract.
The 28-year-old defender is deeply thankful that McCall kept him in mind and found a way, eventually, to put him on the payroll. However, Reid realises there is a danger he will not be able to build on their relationship with the former Rangers and Scotland player, who is being watched by clubs down south and has also been praised to the heavens by the Hibernian chief executive Leeann Dempster as she continues her search for a new manager at Easter Road.
"It can be hard when you've not got a wage coming in during the summer," said Reid. "You've got bills to pay and some of the lads in that position right now will have families. I went through the same thing for two pre-seasons and I'm grateful the manager has now given me an opportunity. I hope I can continue to do well for him and repay him with my performances on the pitch.
"I just hope we can hold on to him for longer because it's been great working with him. The manager has done really well with the budget he's had to work with and what happens with success is that you are going to get linked with other jobs.
"He's got a good bond with the players and he's also got the respect. That comes from being a good player with a good career. Motherwell have qualified for Europe in six of the last seven seasons and he's guided them to second place two years in a row. He's done really well."
Reid admits that the past 12 months have been something of a rollercoaster but feels, in retrospect, that the risks he took over the course of that period have been justified. "It was a weird season when you consider where I started and where I finished," said the one-time Celtic trainee. "However, it was a good season for me.
"I went in on trial to Motherwell last summer and went to Spain with them for pre-season, but things didn't work out. They told me when I went in they had offered Stephen McManus a deal and that were wouldn't be a space for me if he signed. They were honest with me.
"The chance came up again in February when they were short with injuries. There was no guarantee I would play, but it was good because I played every game and impressed them. That goal at Aberdeen just made it all the better."