Forfar boss Gary Irvine has hailed the impact veteran midfielder Gary Harkins has made on his League Two side.
‘Jeebsy’ joined the Station Park side at the beginning of the season as first team coach, teaming up once more with former teammate and childhood friend Irvine.
The 37-year-old is still registered as a player and, although reduced to bit-part appearances earlier in the campaign, he has been a prominent member in the side of late.
Harkins has played more than 70 minutes in the Loons last five games, as they look to cement second place.
Irvine says he knew the influential midfielder would have a big part to play as the season nears its end.
“It was always the plan, like myself still registered as a player,” Irvine told Courier Sport. “It’s always important to have good experience within the squad.
“Gary and I came into the squad knowing that we’d have to help out and play our part at some stage, even more-so now towards the end of the season.
“Jeebsy stepping in to the middle of the park has given the experience that’s been needed in games.
“It’s really valuable to have that experienced head that can be the voice in the middle of the park.
“I was unfortunate to have lost two experienced players in the winter in Steven Anderson and Jamie Ness.
“There’s nobody more experienced in our squad than Jeebsy, he’s been there and done that. His career and appearances back that up.”
‘He was never quick!’
While Harkins starred in a play-making role earlier in his career, the former Dundee ace has featured more in a holding midfield position.
Asked whether this was down to tiring legs, Irvine joked: “He never used to get about the pitch quick anyway!”
“I’m the first one to wind him up about that.
“I used to dread when he was playing in front of me because I knew I had a double shift to do,” the right-back added.
“There has never been any doubt in his ability.
“He’s just one of those players who is the honest type. If you put him anywhere on the pitch he would go out and give his 100%.
“His positioning just now is more down to me. He was one of Dundee’s best players in a season where he played in the middle of the park for Paul Hartley’s team, where we were competing for the top six.
“He was outstanding that season; his controlling and understanding of the game.
“I’ve had these conversations with him where that should have been his position four or five years ago.
“I thought that would be where he would have a good influence in our squad.
“We’ve been fortunate that we’ve been able to play him in there and he’s been doing well since then.”