STEPHEN Dobbie could be playing in the Premiership for more money and a lot less hassle. But when you are in love, the heart does rule the head and one of Scotland’s most natural finishers does not want to split up from Queen of the South even if there have been others wishing to court him.

The 35-year-old is too good for the Championship but he made a promise to the Dumfries club, the one he believes saved his career, and he is not going to break it.

Dobbie always said that once his time in English football ended, there was nowhere else he was going to play apart from Palmerston despite interest from Hearts and other top-tier teams.

The former Rangers, Hibernian, Blackpool and Swansea man has a dream of scoring the goal which takes Queen of the South into the Premiership. And the way the Championship is this season, don’t rule this out.

“That’s the reason I came back,” said Dobbie when asked what it would mean to win promotion for a club which is very much his. “Queen of the South gave me the platform to get my move to England and I made so many memories here. I always said I’d come back and the reason I did was to get them into the Premiership.

“Even the first time I was here, we kept getting as far as fourth and no further. But this year is our centenary so hopefully it’s a good omen for making a bit of history. The last time we were in the top division was in the 1950s.”

For Queens to do this, they need Dobbie, who is 36 in November, to keep scoring goals. He got 27 last season and before yesterday boasted seven from five games. He is playing as well as ever.

“I don’t feel a burden. I’m playing for a club I love and scoring goals for them is an honour for me,” said the veteran. “I’ll not be playing for much longer so if I can help them get to the top division even once, that’s the dream.

“People don’t like coming down to Dumfries to play us, especially on the Astroturf. But we can take inspiration from Livingston. They only came up the year before and suddenly they’re in the Premiership, but it’s been shown before that if you get a group of boys who believe in what they can do, then it can happen.”

Dobbie is an interesting character. He still lives in England and is a rarity in that he has turned down better offers because of the promise he made to the Doonhamers.

“I’ve had a few offers from the Premiership last Christmas. I’ll not tell you the teams,” said Dobbie who could do a job for most of the top 12. “But as soon as I got the calls I just said no straight away.

“I live in England so it’s easy for me to play for Queens and I’m happy there. Why go somewhere where you might not be, especially at my age?

“Yes, there was more money, but at this stage of my career it’s not about money. It’s about playing and enjoying the football and giving something back to this club.”

But surely it would have made sense, not only financially, but in terms of the travelling.

“I live in Lytham St Annes, so it’s not too bad a commute, but we train at Hamilton Palace so there’s a bit more travelling during the week,” Dobbie said. “I’ll maybe take the Monday off, but in pre-season I’ve been in Glasgow more than I have been at home.

“But I love it so it’s not a problem. When I was at Blackpool my kids started school, our friends are all there and it’s a lovely part of the country so there’s no point in uprooting when we’re happy.”

Queen of the South face St Johnstone on Saturday in the Betfred Cup which will give an indication of where Dobbie’s team are.

“I hope we’re in a position to take another step now. We’ve signed some decent players, guys with good experience like Gary Harkins and Michael Doyle from Morton,” he said. “We’ve been around the play-offs the last couple of years and then always just fallen away with a bad run of five or six games.

“Obviously everyone is looking at Thistle and Ross County coming down, and Dundee United as a big team, but as Livingston showed last season, if you get a run together you can get yourselves up there. It’s all to play for.”