DOUGIE Hill was happy to take a wage cut to stay at Raith Rovers after fearing his disciplinary record would see him axed.
The tough-tackling defender will spend a fourth season at Stark’s Park next term after signing a one-year part-time contract on reduced terms.
Eleven bookings and three red cards meant Hill missed a large chunk of last season through suspension, but manager Grant Murray has shown faith in the 28-year-old to clean up his act, and Hill is grateful for the chance.
“There are loads of cuts everywhere so I’m just happy to still be at the club, especially after the nightmare I had with suspensions last season,” Hill said.
“No club can afford a player to miss nine or 10 games a season through suspension, and the fear was that I would be let go.
“However, the manager spoke to me about it and agreed that I was unlucky with two of the red cards.
“Against Deveronvale I got sent off for a last man foul when I genuinely never touched the guy, and against Hamilton, for me, it was a 50-50 tackle and should have been play on.
“I’ve got no complaints about the derby one. Emotions were running high in that game and I should never have got involved when I was already on a booking.
“The gaffer has made it clear that he doesn’t want me picking up any stupid bookings and red cards next season, so I’ll be trying my hardest not to get involved in anything.”
A fully-fit and suspension free Hill would be an asset to most First Division clubs, however, as the defender himself recognises, he has yet to complete a season at Stark’s Park without falling foul of one or the other.
“I’m the same as any player – when I’m playing all the time my confidence gets higher and my fitness gets better,” he said.
“My biggest problem since signing for Raith is getting a consistent run of games going due to injuries and suspensions.
“The bonus for me was that I only missed two games through injury last season when I tweaked my groin after coming back from one of my bans.
“I’m hoping that next season I’ll steer clear of injuries and suspensions and hold down a regular place in the first team.”
Hill works as a plumbing and heating engineer by trade and will be one of only a small number of part-time players at the club next season.
However, he has been working hard on his fitness this summer, as was proven this week when the phone call from the Press interrupted him while running along a beach in Egypt, where he is currently on holiday.
“I need to do this,” said the panting centre-back.
“I’m back on Saturday at two o’clock in the morning and that’s the first day of pre-season training.
“I can’t just expect to turn up and be alright. “I’m sure all the boys are going for runs to keep their fitness up, but it’s a lot tougher in 45 degree heat!”