Tuesday, 3 August 2010

108 Ronnie Coyle

Position : Midfield

Played : 1987-88

Appearances : 24

Goals : 1

Having signed the defending-averse Mark Gavin, Eddie Gray sought to balance things out by having an extra defensive midfielder rather than another winger on the right. In a preview of what was to come under Graham Barrow he signed centre-half Ronnie from Middlesbrough for a few grand to do the job. Aside from the positional question, Ronnie had also played very little first team football for a man of 26*, two games for Celtic, another eight on loan at Clyde and three for Middlesbrough.

As might be expected Ronnie was a decent tackler but whenever he had to do anything more creative he cocked it up. He scored two memorable goals, at home to Tranmere in the League Cup where he ran straight through the middle and slotted home and at home to Scarborough in the League when he volleyed home from a tight angle after messing up a much easier chance a minute earlier. When the financial crisis struck Raith Rovers came in for him with a £10,000 bid and we took the money.

It looked more than likely that that would be the last we’d ever hear of him but eight years later he was still playing for Raith as a sweeper when they had a run in the UEFA Cup and played against Bayern Munich. After 253 appearances for Raith he moved on to Ayr United and had short spells with Albion Rovers, East Fife and Queen’s Park before retiring at 38. He now works as a sales manager in Glasgow and recently survived a cancer scare.

* Sources conflict as to Ronnie's actual birth year between 1961 (taken to be correct here) and 1965.

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