THEY say absence makes the heart grow fonder and that’s certainly proved to be the case for Ross Crawford. 

The striker is back in Clacks after sealing a switch until the end of the season from Brechin City to once again ply his trade at Sauchie.

The move comes less than a year since last season’s top scorer was given the chance at the League Two side when he departed Beechwood Park with the best wishes of everyone at the club.

Fortunately for Sauchie, Crawford has spent much of his time in and out of the plans of former Alloa boss Barry Smith and more recently Mark Wilson, opening the door to a temporary return to the Wee County. 

It’s a major coup for Fraser Duncan and his coaching staff, who’ve made no secret their desire to add extra firepower to their ranks and Crawford wasted little time in delivering with a winner in Saturday’s game against Tranent Juniors. 

“I want to repay the faith Sauchie showed in me last season and even the faith they showed to let me go to Brechin,” Crawford told Advertiser Sport. 

“It’s good to get back playing as at Brechin I was in and out of the team and only getting on here and there.

“Now I am back, I know I will play if I keep performing to a good standard and Saturday was important to get off to a good start.

“I didn’t work with Fraser last season, so it’s important to show him what I can do and then kick on from there.

“It has been in the pipeline for a while and during the week I was speaking to Darren Petrie and trying to get something sorted.

“Then on Friday, we got it finalised and while it would have been ideal to get a session or two it (starting on Saturday) did show the trust the gaffer has in me and luckily it worked.

“It’s brilliant to be back and the dressing room has not changed that much and I still get on really well with all the boys.

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Sauchie coach Darren Petrie (pictured right with Darren Cummings) had a crucial role in securing the signature of Crawford Sauchie coach Darren Petrie (pictured right with Darren Cummings) had a crucial role in securing the signature of Crawford

“Even the new ones have been very welcoming to me and they have all made it feel like I’ve not been away.

“It’s good to go back and be able to try and help Sauchie out of that situation to try and help us get back up that league.”

Despite the lack of game time at his parent club, Crawford says he can see how working with the likes of former Alloa midfielder Ryan McCord every week has helped in his own development. 

“I notice that it’s a lot sharper and quicker at League Two and from that the training is a lot more intense,” the 21-year-old said. 

“I feel, even though I wasn’t always playing, I was always getting sharper and getting more switched on than had I not made the switch.

“That’s really helped me a lot and it has made me realise what I need to do to better myself and improve my game.

“Working with the coaches at Brechin has been huge and they’ve given me such great advice during my time.

“It will be a good mix because I’ll still be training with Brechin twice a week, once with Sauchie, and then games on a Saturday. So, it works out well as it means I am actually getting to play as well as get the help at training.”

Crawford’s goal lifted Sauchie to just one point from Premier Division safety, but he knows he joins a club tasked with a very different mission than the one he left. 

He said: “It is a different challenge from last season because we were going for promotion, whereas now it’s a dogfight to stay up.

“You can see it in the boys; they are hungry and they really want to get out of this situation.

“I am the same. I don’t want to see Sauchie going down because we are too good and too big a club to go down.”