STEWART Houston has saluted the "always positive" Darren Cummings and backed his former team-mate to make his mark off the pitch. 

The Sauchie defender is sure the Reds legend will have a big say in the club's future after the veteran confirmed he won't return to the pitch this season. 

Houston has gotten to know Cummings better than most during his time in Clacks and believes his infectious attitude will rub off on the squad now he's turned his attention to coaching. 

"Daz is a great guy," Houston, 25, told Advertiser Sport. "He's infectious and you don't really ever get him in a bad mood.

"He's always got something positive to say and if he is giving you criticism it is in a good way. He's good at shaping and all that.

READ MORE: Sauchie Juniors star Darren Cummings retires

"He brings something, because Davie [Beaton] and Fras [Duncan] are defenders, to the strikers and is able to work with them.

"He's a good guy to learn from. He could still do a job, but it's his decision at the end of the day to not play anymore. 

"It's a good thing for the strikers to still have him at the club and to keep him as a coach." 

Cummings, who briefly co-managed the team last season with Darren Petrie following the end to Martin Mooney's short-lived reign, has been an influential figure at Beechwood Park for a number of years. 

And Houston is sure he will not hesitate to answer Duncan's call if he needs to this season. 

"He's Sauchie through and through," Houston continued. "A great guy. 

"He'd be one of the first guys to offer himself up if we were struggling for numbers." 

While Cummings will remain in the background this season, Houston has returned for a fourth campaign in Clacks and he can't wait for league action to get underway. 

Having gone through the upheaval of the Mooney days, which saw a number of players, Kyle Turnbull included, enjoy short-lived spells at Sauchie, the defender says he is excited by the work done by Duncan and Beaton during the extended off-season. 

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Darren Cummings, left, with Darren Petrie Darren Cummings, left, with Darren Petrie

The duo brought a host of new names to Beechwood and Houston believes they have all hit the ground runnings. 

"It's been really good and there is a really good level at training," he said. "There is a good bunch of boys, with good banter and stuff like that.

"There's a good atmosphere at the club. I've been here for three seasons and I am quite a quite guy, but I would say there's a good atmosphere about the boys. 

"There are no cliques and we are all getting on really well. 

"The numbers have been really good at training and that's been a problem in recent years. That's good, but we need to keep that up.

"It feels, with the coaches and the new boys, that there's a good feel about the club right now. We just need to take that into our performances and not just in good training sessions." 

For Houston, he admits he did consider not returning to play football again this summer.

However, now he's back with his mates, he knows he made the right call. 

"I was in two minds about coming back to play football," he said. "But, I was always going to come back and play and see how I got on.

Alloa and Hillfoots Advertiser: Stewart Houston in action Stewart Houston in action

"I've enjoyed it since I came back. I was generally keeping myself pretty fit with running and stuff like that when we were away.

"You miss the team aspect of it and training with the guys, and not just being out and running on roads yourself. It's great to be back in the team atmosphere."