Three years have passed since Joe Cardle last sported the black-and-white of Dunfermline — but he continues to ingratiate himself to the East End Park faithful.
“When I spoke to Joe [Cardle], he just told me to get the deal done as soon as possible,” says Reece Cole, the Pars’ new creative midfielder.
Even from his new home at Kelty Hearts, it seems the wing wizard is still claiming assists for Dunfermline.
The duo played together at Partick Thistle, remain firm friends and, given Cardle’s success during two spells on the Halbeath Road, there are few better placed to give Cole the lowdown on his new employers.
“Joe was here a few years ago and still knows a few of the backroom staff and a some of the players,” Cole continues. “He reckons he’s a legend here, but I don’t know whether the fans would agree with that!
“I wouldn’t say that — his head would just get bigger.”
Cole was a silver lining during that miserable 2019/20 campaign for the Jags, notching four goals in 25 outings — one of which came in a 5-1 defeat against the Pars.
Although Covid curtailed the season and Thistle were relegated from the Championship on a points-per-game basis, Cole, on loan from Brentford at the time, emerged with his reputation enhanced.
He reflects on that as the most enjoyable period of his career to date and fully intends to recapture that form in Fife.
⚽ GOAL OF THE DAY ⚽
We've gone back to 2019 and a winter trip to Palmerston for this morning's Goal of the Day.
Reece Cole popped up with the winner on an afternoon when Thistle came from behind to secure victory. pic.twitter.com/ghQFW5JtUA
— Partick Thistle FC (@PartickThistle) February 16, 2021
“I felt I was playing my best football when I was at Partick,” continued Cole.
“What clicked? It was just getting the game-time and a consistent run of matches.
“I was 21 when I first came up and I just needed to experience men’s football. That desire to get the three points on a Saturday is what I learned about the most.”
Mark Warburton’s QPR
Cole emerged as a youngster at Brentford but made just one appearance for the London outfit, instead being farmed out on loan to Newport County, Yeovil Town, Maidenhead Town, Macclesfield Town and the Jags.
However, he spent the second half of last season at QPR and, while the opportunity to be on the books of an estimable outfit was appreciated, life in the under-23s left him unfulfilled.
“The games are not meaningless — but I would say there’s no real desire to get the win,” he continued. “If it’s a 0-0 towards the last 10 minutes it’s pretty safe football. I don’t really like playing that way. I like all or nothing.
“With Covid, it was quite tough at QPR. The buildings and training were separated and the first-team were pushing for top 10. So, the manager down there [Mark Warburton] kept his senior players. Not many of the younger boys had a chance.”
On the subject of ‘all or nothing’, Cole could make his debut against Stenhousemuir this afternoon, with the Pars seeking a victory to give themselves an excellent chance of reaching the last-16 of the Premier Sports Cup.