Not just a one season wonder

Mark Stewart in action against Hearts. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Mark Stewart in action against Hearts. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
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Mark Stewart is looking to put the frustration of the past three years behind him with a successful season at Raith Rovers.

The 26-year-old forward has not had regular first team football since leaving Falkirk following his breakthrough season in 2010-11.

Stewart’s form and 17 goals during that campaign resulted in a big move to Bradford City - a move which ultimately cost the English club £155,000 in compensation.

Stewart made only five starts at Valley Parade, and has since had short spells at Hamilton, Dundee, Kilmarnock and Derry City.

Now at Stark’s Park, Stewart is out to prove that he is not just a one-season wonder.

“It’s been a frustrating couple of years,” he told the Press. “I’ve not really played since I left Falkirk a few years ago.

“I had always been pretty injury-prone growing up so my last year at Falkirk was the first season where I’d played week in, week out, and I showed what I was able to do.

“Since then I’ve just not been able to string a run of games together. It’s just the way my body’s been - something’s always popped up.

“When I went to Dundee I had a knee operation and never really got involved, then I got offered a contract at Killie, which was maybe a step up.

“I went straight in, broke my jaw, and then never played again.

“Come January nobody had any money and nobody was going to pay for someone who’s been on the sidelines for 18 months.

“The Irish League was just starting and Derry put together a good package so I thought I’d give it a go.

“It served its purpose. I got some games but I’m happy to be back here, playing in a good league for a good club.

“It’s a good opportunity for me and I just want to get some goals and play week in, week out.

“If I’m playing consistently, the team is doing well, and I can chip in with a few goals and assists, to me that will be a successful season.

“Then we can take it from there.”

Stewart was speaking after Saturday’s 4-0 home defeat to Hearts.

“We were chasing the game from early on and they found gaps and punished us,” he said. “It’s one of those games we just have to put to bed.”