Partick new boy Adam Barton has revealed how grateful he is to be a footballer after suffering a double fracture of his back as a schoolboy.
The 25-year-old utility player made the move from Portsmouth to Maryhill on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee last week.
However, a decade ago he feared his dreams could be over when shooting up in height several inches brought with it some unexpected complications which saw him sidelined for a year.
However, after Preston showed patience Barton developed into a midfielder equally at home at centre-back and he went on to play for Coventry and Pompey.
Looking forward to life in the Ladbrokes Premiership, Barton said: “I had a double fracture of my lower back and that set me back a year.
“I was 15 or 16 and I think it was a growth spurt.
“I was training hard at the time in the youth levels, it just fractured. I didn’t know I did it.
“I was at Blackburn Rovers when I actually fractured my back. I didn’t know it was there until I went to Preston and they sorted it all out for me and I was lucky they did it for me.
“At that point I didn’t really think I was going to have a career in football.
“At the time I was playing for the school with Jake Simpson, (son of) Paul Simpson who was manager of Preston at the time. He saw me and took me to Preston. I was out for a year at Preston.
“I progressed from there, stuck at it, did all the work I had to do and luckily enough I got my chance at Preston.
“If you are doing well it is all good, but if you have one or two bad games you have to think this is a lot better life than the things you could be doing.
“There is always competition at teams and if you don’t cherish it every day you will see yourself falling down the pecking order.”
Barton was born in Clitheroe, but qualified for both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland through his Belfast-born grandfather.
After being capped by Northern Ireland in a friendly against Morocco in November 2010 he then switched to playing for the Republic’s Under-21 side and, although full caps have failed to materialise so far, he has no regrets.
He said: “I was 19 at the time, doing really well at Preston and I got the call from Northern Ireland saying, ‘We have a friendly against Morocco, are you interested?’ and straight away I said, ‘Of course’.
“It was a full cap, but it was only a friendly and it didn’t tie me down.
“I got a call a few days later asking if I wanted to go to the Republic of Ireland Under-21s and I said I wasn’t sure.
“I was eligible also through my granddad and if he had a say in it I don’t think I would have made the step to the Republic, but I did and it was all good.
“I met some great friends there and it was great experience.
“Things didn’t go as well as I thought they would, but that is fine, that was my decision and I am happy I did both because I have met some good friends through it.”