I was mad about football from a very early age, I always had a ball with me. Even at four or five years old, I carried a ball around, kicked it about and then started dreaming of being a football player when I was seven or eight.

I started playing when I was very young, nine or ten, beginning with the school team. But I wasn’t better than everyone else by any means and the team wasn’t very good, we used to get beaten quite heavily, 11-0 and 15-0.

Then I went on to move to Dundasvale before joining Possil YM, who were two good amateur boys’ clubs.

I was brought up in Possilpark and moved through to Paisley when I was 16. It’s fair to say the culture has changed dramatically since I was a boy.

When I was growing up you could still play football in the streets. Hardly anyone had a motor car so we could practise in the street. With all the technology now, the computers, all the Premiership games being shown on TV, there are a lot more things that can take a kid’s imagination now than just wanting to be a footballer.

Without a doubt street football played a big part in my development as a player. I think anyone from my era would tell you that it developed your touch and it developed your toughness. We often played small sided games but it also might have been up to 20-a-side, so you had to have good control. It was a major thing for players in those days to have street football.

I never really went to watch a team when

I was younger because I always played

football on the weekends from a young age. But then I joined St Mirren training on a Thursday evening when I was 12 years old

and that became my team then, from that age

I supported St Mirren.

I always had heroes growing up, not just

St Mirren players but Scottish players, the likes of Kenny Dalglish and guys in that sort of mould. At St Mirren I always remembered and liked Tommy Bryceland, although I never saw him play.

But playing on a Saturday and Sunday all the time meant I never got to watch games, we never went to matches because I was on the pitch. For me Saturday has always been set aside for football and I’ve followed St Mirren for many years, even when I was away from the club those were still the games I would go to and follow.

In terms of days I look back on fondly from my playing career, the 1987 Scottish Cup final was obviously a special moment for the club and myself. But I also won the Championship under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Fergie provided the tipping point in my career, the moment I realised I could become a professional footballer. When I was in at

St Mirren training I was doing ok, but I didn’t know if I would get a contract until Sir Alex came in and changed everything. He saw something in me that maybe other people didn’t. He made me captain when I was just 17 and that’s when I started to believe in myself.

Playing under Fergie was very special, even way back then, he was a great man, manager, coach, everything about him was special. He was with us for three-and-a-bit years and he was a fantastic man.

It was a mixture of things that made him great, obviously he had great tactical knowledge and managerial qualities, but I think the big thing that separated him from the rest was that the love and care for his players – and that’s not just two words. It was true, he really cared for you and your family and that separated him from other managers, he cared about you as a person.

One thing I’ve never done is play a round of golf. No sport outside of football has ever interested me, I’ve only ever wanted to watch or play one game. I’ve always had that passion to do that, to watch the game on the TV, but playing the game is what it’s really all about.

Watching St Mirren nowadays, I still get as excited as I did as a kid, it’s a great feeling, and to be part of the club now as CEO is fantastic.

Today I’m in Aberdeen for the Scottish Cup fourth round. I really do think there is a magic about the cup. When you’re a kid on the street you don’t dream about winning the league, you dream about winning cups, and the Scottish Cup is the top prize.

It really is a major achievement and there’s only so many people can be lucky enough to win it in a lifetime, so it’s very special.