Stuart's still going strong

AT the 1994 World Cup in America, Mexican goalkeeper Jorge Campos captured the hearts of football fans around the world.

Campos became an overnight sensation thanks to his fluorescent strip and flamboyant style, but it was another aspect of his game that set him apart from his peers - he was also an exceptional striker.

Equally adept at finding the net as he was at guarding it, Campos had a unique talent that many observers thought the world would never see again . . . but step forward Lenzie man Stuart Robertson.

On the official Strathkelvin Thistle website, 44-year-old Stuart lists his position as 'striker/goalie', but is he really the heir to Campos' throne?

Stuart told Herald Sport: "I must admit I do love playing up front and I get a great buzz when I score a goal.

"It's so different from being a goalkeeper, and I find myself waking up on a Saturday morning excited about the game ahead.

"I managed to get 16 goals two seasons ago and hopefully I'll add a few more this year."

While his striking career may still be in its infancy, there is no doubting Stuart's pedigree as a goalkeeper.

Starting out at Partick Thistle, his footballing CV reads like a who's who of the senior and junior Scottish game.

Airdrie, Stenhousemuir, Clyde, Queens Park, Kilwinning Rangers, Maryhill, Cumnock and Rob Roy, among others, are all listed as former clubs, and it goes without saying that Stuart has a tale or two to tell.

He said: "I've been lucky enough to play under some great managers and I've met a lot of good people.

"Ally McLeod was my boss at Airdrie and he was a real character.

"He would tell stories after training about the 1978 World Cup and keep us all entertained for hours. He was better than Bruce Forsyth."

Stuart has also had the chance to play under two of the legendary Lisbon Lions, Bertie Auld and John Clark, with Clark giving him his big chance at Firhill as a raw 17-year-old.

He explained: "I went to pre-season training at Thistle when Billy Thomson and Alan Rough were the goalkeepers, but Billy got injured and I got my chance straight away in a reserve game against Motherwell.

"I had an enjoyable three years there and the club made an arrangement where I would play with Milton Battlefield under-21s on a Saturday and turn out for Thistle reserves through the week."

It was also during his time at Firhill that Stuart got the chance to share a pitch with a player he cites as the best he has ever played with, Mo Johnston.

Stuart said: "Mo was just different class and I always knew he would go on to play for Scotland.

"He was outstanding and even when I left Thistle I would still try and get to their games to watch him."

Johnston, of course, will forever be remembered for switching Old Firm allegiances in the late 1980s, and it transpires that Stuart also has some experience of 'jumping the dyke'.

He explained: "I had a spell playing rugby during the mid-90s and committed the cardinal sin of leaving Lenzie to join Allan Glen's.

"Then, when I played junior I left Cumnock to join fierce rivals Kilwinning Rangers. It was always interesting to go back and play in front of the old fans."

His spell at Kilwinning coincided with a period of unbridled success for the Ayrshire side, and Stuart has fond memories of his days there.

He said: "In the 98-99 season we won every trophy, including the Scottish Cup, and I think my medal haul for Kilwinning was into double figures.

"We had an outstanding side and some of our football was a joy to watch."

Nowadays, Stuart's time is split between playing for Strathkelvin Thistle, running his successful GSL Sports business and spending time with wife Claire and children Cairn (10), Alex (7) and Scott (3).

With so much going on, Stuart could be forgiven for hanging up his boots, but he has revealed to Herald Sport the inspiration behind his continued love affair with the beautiful game.

He said: "My mother-in-law keeps going on about me being too old and says that it's about time I retired.

"If that's not enough motivation for me to keep playing, I don't know what is."