CRAIG MCDOWALL has returned to Alloa and is hoping he and old pal Neil Parry can bring out the best in each other in the bid for promotion.

McDowall has history with Alloa as part of the back-to-back promotions under Paul Hartley. He's also the only Alloa keeper to ever beat Rangers.

After a few years away from football running the family business, McDowall decided to take up some sessions with fellow ex-Alloa goalkeeper John Gibson before a call from captain Andy Graham got the ball rolling.

"I'm buzzing," McDowall told Advertiser Sport. "I'm really looking forward to it. It came a bit out of the blue, I've not been playing the last couple of years due to work commitments.

"It was big Andy that phoned me originally, he said they were looking for someone to come in and challenge big Neilly – who I'm best of pals with anyway.

"Back in December I got in touch with Gibby because he's got his own goalkeeping school, so I asked about a few sessions. I went down and kept ticking over, he's got a Facebook page where he posts his videos from the sessions and I think Andy had seen that I was back involved."

There was talks about McDowall returning in January but the club signed Jordan Wright from Nottingham Forest.

However, one Sunday afternoon Graham reached out and told McDowall he was helping out a little with the recruitment and was putting some feelers out.

Now McDowall is back at the club he's hoping he and Parry can push each other to bring out the best in each other.

"I'm not going to speak for him," McDowall said. "But the last time we were their together, I think we pushed each other and he said as well we brought the best out of each other.

"We train to a good standard together; we done a session together [recently], a sort of pre-pre-season session, and we were saying the good thing about us is we'll go in, work hard and whoever plays gets the full support of the other.

"I'm under no illusions he's the number one and he'll start – he's a legend, he's been excellent since he got there. It's up to me to come in and try to train hard and see where it takes us."

McDowall already knows a few of the core players in the squad and played with Stefan Scougall when the pair were at Livingston.

He said: "[I played with] Andy, Neily, Kev [Cawley], Taggs [Scott Taggart] and Robbo [Jon Robertson].

I played with Scougs a few years ago when he was coming through at Livingston. He's a genius, I remember one of his first training sessions at Livi, when the young boys come in you can tell instantly who's decent. I remember a lot of the first team being like 'who's this?', he was top class."

Now McDowall's returning to a club he clearly still has a lot of love for, and he's excited to be playing for a Rangers legend.

He continued: "I think they're the best part-time team in Scotland. Even the first day I walked in after leaving Livingston, I think I was 20 or 21 years old, I knew within an hour it was a good place, you get a good feel for the place. I think the majority of players that pass through all speak pretty highly of the place.

"I grew up a Rangers fan, still am. To be honest I was buzzing to get back regardless of who the manager is, but obviously you see the level he's played at, I'm sure it'll be high standards and that's what I like so I'm looking forward to it.

"That's half the battle, that's what players like, no-one's going to complain about high standards, especially when training's good, you want to be working hard."

McDowall feels he's ready to come in and be a real part of the club's promotion push and believes the squad is strong enough to do so.

"Even though I've not been playing," he continued. "I've been keeping fit, I feel in a good place and with what I know now and how to look after myself, the aim is to get in and train hard and play as much as possible.

"I've been part of two promotions, I've seen what it can do. I remember when I signed under Jack Ross promotion was what he put on the players and I don't imagine this season will be any different, when you look around the dressing room and see the quality there I don't see why you can't have a right good go at it."