FOR Sauchie ace Darren Petrie, it's still weird to be considered an experienced head at the tender age of just 23.

After receiving the devastating news that his playing career has been cruelly cut short due to a knee injury, the midfielder has stepped into Iain Diack's backroom staff for the rest of the season.

While he is still at the age where many players are still finding their feet in the game, Petrie's experience at every level in Scotland was all Diack needed to know to go out of his way to keep him at the club.

The former Dundee United man told Advertiser Sport: "I've played at a high level and every league in Scotland. I know the game inside and out, which sounds weird given I am only 23.

"Playing my way through the divisions has definitely helped. They asked me to come onboard and help with training and recruitment.

"I didn't want to just leave football and feel I've got so much to offer. I want to help people in any way I can."

Petrie had already been on course to sign for an extra year as a player at the club before injury struck in November.

He continued: "I had already been offered a new contract as a player as the manager was trying to get his squad ready for next season early.

"Then the injury came out of the blue, but Iain said nothing had changed and he still wanted to keep me here next season.

"Then I got the news that I won't be able to play, but he was still really keen to have me join him on the coaching staff.

"The doctor said I could play again if I had an operation, but I would be off work for six months.

"Being a homeowner now, I couldn't afford that. It was a tough choice but made a wee bit easier for me by everyone at Sauchie."

Venues like Bo'ness and Eyemouth may be a world away for the former Scotland under-19 captain – who played with the likes of Ryan Gauld and John Souttar – but Petrie insists there is no place he would rather be taking the next steps in his career than in Clackmannanshire with Diack.

"He's been great and I feel like I am right involved and not just somebody who is there to pick up the cones," Petrie added.

"He is getting me to help with training selection and doesn't want me to just keep my mouth shut.

"Iain is really open and has been excellent with me. Hopefully, we can kick on and get over this bad spell."