'I'm off on holiday again next weekend' – ex-Scotland keeper comes out of retirement aged 45

Rab Douglas last played for Forfar in December 2015

Rab Douglas returned to action in a win over Queen’s Park after coming out of retirement aged 45 to help Arbroath get their title bid back on track.

The former Scotland goalkeeper last made a competitive appearance for Forfar Athletic in December 2015.

But he played in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Hampden after three games on the bench.

“I just didn’t want to let anyone down,” said Douglas. “The gaffer took a gamble putting me in and I appreciate that. Thank God it paid off.”

Douglas, who counts Dundee, Celtic and Leicester City among his former clubs, admits he is unlikely to continue playing long enough to become the oldest goalkeeper to have appeared in Scotland’s professional leagues.

Meanwhile, Japanese striker Kazuyoshi Miura is still playing for Yokohama in his country’s second tier at the age of 50.

“I know Bobby Geddes came on as a sub for Dundee and I think he was 49 at the time,” Douglas told BBC Scotland.

“I’m off on holiday again next weekend, so I can’t make it, but the gaffer was fully aware of that.”

Douglas had left Forfar in protest at the sacking of manager Dick Campbell and it was the former Dunfermline Athletic, Partick Thistle and Ross County boss who gave the goalkeeper a chance to extend his career with Arbroath last season.

However, the veteran did not make a single appearance as the Red Lichties went on to win the Scottish League Two title and promotion – and he had been without a club this season.

“I’m good friends with the gaffer, so I helped them out last season when they got promoted and I was on holiday in Turkey and got the text message from the gaffer saying ‘I need you, the goalie’s got concussion’,” explained Douglas.

Bobby Geddes, then 49, was a substitute for Dundee against Raith Rovers in 2010

“I was home by the Friday and had to go from Turkey to Edinburgh then Broughty Ferry to Stranraer on Saturday, so that was an interesting one.

“So I’ve been on the bench a few weeks and I obviously ended up playing on Saturday.”

Campbell’s part-timers had been up challenging League One leaders Raith Rovers and Ayr United, but seven goals conceded in defeats by East Fife and Ayr led to goalkeeper David Hutton being dropped to the bench.

“I feel sorry for David Hutton – being a goalie’s the loneliest place in the world when you make a mistake,” said Douglas.

“It was amazing to play again, but no disrespect to Queen’s Park, I didn’t have much to do.

“But to walk off your national stadium at the age of 45 with a clean sheet, no matter what, nobody can take it away from me.”

Douglas, capped 19 times for Scotland, does not discount a few more appearances before hanging up his goalkeeper’s gloves once more.

“I think playing yesterday just drives you on a little bit more,” he added.

“At times, you think maybe I don’t miss it so much then you get back involved in the dressing-room and the banter.

“I was a late starter. I started at Meadowbank when I was 21 and didn’t go full-time with Dundee until I was 25 and I think you do appreciate it that bit more.”

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