RECORD-BREAKING former Fort William goalkeeper, David Osborne has joined the Nairn County coaching staff, writes Graeme Macleod.
The 40-year-old kept goal for the Lochaber club during their historic winning run last season when they set a club record of four successive Highland League victories.
He has now joined Les Fridge's backroom team and has already been hard at work with the County stoppers.
He said: "I was going to help out one night a week at training but I am now going to be involved at each training session and on a match day when I can."
"It is going well. I am just helping out young Dylan (Maclean) and the other young goalies and it is a good way for me to stay involved in football."
Nairn-based Osborne rejoined Fort William in a similar role earlier this year but his second spell at Claggan Park was short-lived.
He revealed: "There were issues with getting away from my work to get to training and games, so I had to call a halt to that."
"Then, the chance came up to go back to Nairn and I thought that would be a lot easier, with it being just around the corner from where I stay."
Osborne has been impressed by the standard of his charges so far and is tipping Nairn's young stoppers to make a name for themselves in the Highland League in the coming years.
He said: "Dylan has taken to the training especially well and young Fraser Wilkie from the under-17s is working really hard as well. They have done everything I have asked of them and they are always hungry to do more."
"They are improving all of the time and I can see already that Dylan is definitely one for the future. It is just a pity for him that Calum Antell is in there just now to stop him from getting in the team."
"We are noticing a difference in them both though and you can see they are more confident when they step into the game at the end with the full first team squad. If they keep going the way they are, they will give themselves a chance of being good enough to make it."
Osborne played with Ormiston in the East of Scotland League and junior football for Pumpherston, Livingston United, Blackburn United and Rosyth earlier in his career.
After moving north, he linked up with Hilton in the Inverness Amateur League, which led to his move to Fort William.
He is hoping to prolong his career in the Amateurs this summer and is also a qualified referee.
"I took up refereeing just before I moved up here," he said. "I quite enjoy it and will be refereeing in the Forres and Nairn Welfare League this summer."
"The stick from the players tends to go in one ear and out the other with me. I can tell you one thing though - it is a lot easier refereeing up here than it is down the road!"
"A lot of the people who play in the Welfare up here know that I played football, which I think helps me. They know that I can see things from their point of view and I try to be a bit more forgiving with the players.
"I am still hoping to play in the Inverness Amateur League this summer too, although when I see the young goalies training I think to myself "Thank God I am not doing that anymore!" I certainly cannot dive about the way I make them dive about nowadays but I am happy to still play where and when I am needed."
Manager Les Fridge believes the appointment of a specialist goalkeeping coach for the first time in his 12 years at Station Park will allow him more time to concentrate on other aspects of his own role.
He revealed: "David was due to come in and sign for us in the summer to be the back-up goalie and coach as well. He had various things going on though and could not commit to it but he came and played for us at Fraserburgh when Calum Antell was suspended, which we were really grateful for."
"I spoke to him again a couple of months ago and he has now joined us on the coaching staff. He is doing a great job and it is great for the young goalies from the under-17s and under-15s to receive specialist goalkeeping coaching."
"As a former goalkeeper, it is great to see them all up at training working away. It definitely makes a difference and the goalies themselves are speaking very highly of the sessions."
He added: "I enjoy doing the goalkeeping side of things myself but when you are the manager and first team coach as well, you have so much else to do and concentrate on. I do not get the time to do as much of that as I would like, so it is great to now have David on board."