RETURNING Stirling Albion hero Scot Buist has revealed how the doctors who told him he would never play again, spurred him on to defy the odds and make his comeback, writes Jamie Hall.

It is almost three years since the big defender suffered a horrific and career-threatening knee injury while playing for Stenhousemuir.

Although he admitted that he almost gave up at one stage, a meeting with his surgeon convinced the 30-year-old that there was a possibility of playing again.

Now, after training with Peterhead and playing two games for Montrose as a trialist, the defender has returned to Forthbank for a second spell and is hoping he has put his nightmare is behind him.

Buist told Stirling News Sport: “I was out for two years and eight months and for the first year and a half I did give up a little bit. I had had two operations and I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. But coming towards the third operation I was a bit more optimistic, and after that I met with the surgeon and he was more than happy with how the operations had gone. I got told to retire but the longer time went on, and the more I saw the surgeon, the more optimistic I was that I’d be able to play again.

"To be honest it came down to stubbornness. It didn’t sit well with me that someone else was telling me that I was finished, so I was determined to get back and prove that I was still capable of playing at this level. I managed to get there in the end.”

The centre-back looked set to join Peterhead, playing as a trialist for Montrose on the understanding that he would then return to the Blue Toon, but the Angus club’s manager Paul Hegarty was so impressed that he launched an attempt of his own to bring Buist to the club permanently.

However, he revealed that once the Binos entered the equation, the chance to work with his old Stenhousemuir manager Martyn Corrigan was too good to turn down.

He said: “I kept myself fit and ticking over and then I started doing a bit of training with Peterhead. I was up there for two months or so which led to me playing a couple of games for Montrose as a trialist to try and build up some match fitness. From there Stirling came in and showed a bit of interest.

“Initially, joining Montrose wasn’t something that crossed my mind. They were struggling for players and Paul Hegarty got talking to Jim McInally. The understanding was that I would go and play some games for them, then go back to Peterhead and see where we were. I played a couple of games and Paul showed a real interest in bringing me to the club. That was an option as well, and although I ended up not choosing it, it was definitely up there.

“All three clubs offered me a deal and I felt that Stirling was the right move for me at the time. I know Martyn Corrigan and a lot of the players from my time at Stenhousemuir, and I know what a great bunch of lads they are. When I was playing the best football of my career I was working under Martyn so I jumped at the chance to get on board with him and Stuart. I liked what the manager had to say as well so I was more than happy to sign again.”

Buist was denied the chance to make his second debut for the Binos – against Montrose, of all teams – as last Saturday’s League Two clash at Forthbank fell victim to the weather, but he insists that when the chance does eventually arrive, he will be ready for it.

The former Alloa man has been playing for Albion’s Development Squad in an effort to build up his match fitness so that he can do a job for manager Stuart McLaren.

Buist said: “It is tough, but I have been playing for the Under-20s. I have played in the last two games to keep myself ticking over. It’s not great when games get called off on Saturdays but that is outwith your control. I am getting some game time during the week and although I need to be sensible with what I do, I will be ready when the chance comes. I am just keeping myself ticking over until the chance comes and hopeful I can grab it with both hands.

“I played two full 90 minutes for Montrose and my fitness wasn’t a problem. I maybe lacked a half-yard of sharpness that comes with match practice but if I was called upon on a Saturday, I’m quite confident that I’d cope without any problems.”

He has been impressed with the Binos’ squad since his arrival, and Buist admitted he is surprised they are lying seventh in League Two.

However, with promotion still very much within reach, he has targeted the league championship and says Albion are more than capable of going all the way.

Buist added: “I knew a lot of the boys. With the squad we have, I think we are in a false position. The boys are a lot better than that for me. I think they should be much higher in the table. The boys didn’t have the greatest of starts but there was a good run before Christmas which propelled us up the league. The boys won’t be happy with where they are so they will be keen to go on another one of those runs and get us right in the mix again.

“We had two back-to-back defeats to East Fife and East Stirling before we got a point against Queen’s Park, which is a step in the right direction but we want to be winning those games. The sooner we start picking up three points and get a bit of confidence the better. Confidence is massive. It gives you freedom to go and enjoy games, and that is when you start to go on runs.

“The title is one hundred per cent achievable. I wouldn’t have signed for the club if I didn’t think they were capable of going on and winning the league. It is wide open and if you go two or three games unbeaten it puts you right back in the mix. It is still everything to play for and we are quietly confident we can go about our business, pick up three points on Saturdays and be right in the thick of it come the end of the season.”