GAVIN Smith has secured a return to Nairn County on a short term deal until the end of the season.
The 24-year-old attacking midfield player has been training with the squad over the last few months as he builds up his fitness again following knee surgery.
Smith has featured for the under-20s as a trialist in the North of Scotland League and goes straight into their squad for the tie at Thurso in the first round of the Jock Mackay Cup on Saturday.
Manager Ronnie Sharp said: "There is a limit on how many games a player can feature in as a trialist, so this allows Gavin the chance to still turn out for the under-20s as an overage player and build up his fitness.
"We usually run with an under-20s squad of about 14, which is ideal as it means there are spaces to include overage players from the first team who need game time and to reward those who are doing well in the under-17s by pushing them on.
"We have lost two or three bodies from our under-20s squad lately though, so have moved some up from the under-17s permanently. Obviously, with this cup tie taking place on a Saturday, it clashes with the first team's game against Cove Rangers, so our hands are tied in terms of using any first team players. But bringing Gavin in will give the coach, Stuart Finnie a wee bit of experience in what I am sure will be a tough game for his young side on Saturday."
Smith started out at Nairn County in 2009, debuting in a 9-0 win away at Strathspey Thistle in May before also appearing from the bench for the final minute of the Highland League (Morganti) Cup final success a year later.
His career continued at Nairn St Ninian before work commitments in the United States, Aberdeen and most recently, Tenerife coupled with his knee injury took him away from the local area. He returned to training with the squad in November though having received the all-clear from his consultant.