IT SAYS a lot about Sauchie Juniors that a player with more than 20 years in football wishes he joined sooner than he did.

For Chic Bell, his two years at the Wee County club – despite his debut season being disrupted by the pandemic – have been the best of his career.

Speaking shortly after he was announced as the club's first player to extend his stay at Beechwood, Bell told Advertiser Sport: "I've started enjoying my football again. Before I signed with Sauchie [back in 2020] I was playing amateur football because I'd fell out of love with the game.

"With Sauchie, the way the club's going, the standards – Scottish Cup and things like that – I'm just trying to play as long as possible so it was an easy decision for me to sign on.

"I played against Sauchie for years with [clubs like] Broxburn, Camelon…I said to Fraser [Duncan, Sauchie manager] I wish I'd signed for the club a while back.

"The fans are great, they back the club to the hilt."

That Scottish Cup that Bell mentions saw another chapter added to this club's history books as they defeated Fraserburgh and Dunipace before losing to League One side Dumbarton.

Bell continued: "It was different level. You can't beat a Scottish Cup run. I hope we get another run like we did. We were unlucky against Dumbarton. So close."

For Sauchie, next season a good start is imperative. At the beginning of last season's campaign the club really struggled and found themselves playing catch-up for most of the season.

Bell said: "After that run mid season we were flying. Imagine we had a good start.

"I think for about three months we were playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday. I would rather play every week. When you get to my age you don't want to train, you just want to play.

"I'd play every day if I could to be honest."

Bell's confident this season will be better as the club now know who they're up against.

He continued: "I think we've got a wee gauge of who's in the league now and with Tranent leaving, when you look at that league nobody ever hammered us, we never got outplayed. I just think we lacked that killer instinct at times.

"If we can produce what we produced at parts of the season consistently [and] if we can get a good start I think we'll do well.

"It's all about consistency. I think we'll get that this year because we've learned from last season."

For Bell, who is 36 years old and has been playing football since the age of 13, he can't say when he wants to hang up his gloves.

He said: "I think I say one more year every year. I've never enjoyed my football any more than when I came to Sauchie.

"They've gave me a hunger back [with] the way the club's run. It's a great wee place.

"What they're doing with the club is unbelievable. We've got a great platform to kick on.

"I'm just happy, you couldn't ask for a better place to play football."