Retiring Fabi's trophy aim for old Times' sake

Kilwinning Rangers stalwart Roland Fabiani is dreaming of a silverware-tinged send-off from 22 years in the Junior game in this season's Evening Times Cup final.

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Kilwinning's Roland Fabiani has been in the game 22 years
Kilwinning's Roland Fabiani has been in the game 22 years

Fabi, 41, will be hanging up his boots at the end of this season and is convinced he will be going out on a high with an Ayrshire District League winner's gong to add to his medal collection.

Over more than two decades, the defender has had stints with Musselburgh Athletic, Greenock, Pollok, Kilwinning Rangers, Arthurlie, Maryhill, Bellshill Athletic, Glenafton and Lanark United.

Reality says it will not be his finest hour for someone whose claims to fame include being the first-ever winner of back- to-back Super Premier League titles, however the experienced defender is itching for a final trophy fling.

And most pundits reckon that looks a foregone conclusion seeing as the Buffs require just seven points from an anything but daunting league run-in programme, beginning with closest challengers Troon on Saturday followed by lowly Ayrshire trio Muirkirk, Craigmark and Dalry Thistle.

Fabi, however, is taking nothing for granted having already stalled on deciding to call it quits at the bequest of Abbey Park gaffer George Grierson.

He explained: "It's been nigh-on impossible to balance Junior football with the demands on my time caused by working shifts as a Strathclyde Police officer on top of family commitments since my girlfriend Kirsty gave birth to our daughter Emilia.

"It all came to a head last month when I decided enough was enough and made my mind up to quit, however George – who was very understanding of my predicament – was likewise very persuasive in wanting me to see out the season with Kilwinning. Our target was always to help the club regain its Super League status and it seemed crazy to be walking away with the finishing line in sight.

"But everyone involved in Junior football knows it might take months yet to complete our league campaign.

"I wasn't keen to spin things out until George suggested I limit my involvement to making myself available for our final four games and nothing more.

"The arrangement suits everyone so my energies are focused on helping us get the necessary points in the bag as soon as possible starting with a win over Troon this weekend.

"And if all goes according to plan then my swansong might be a final crack at the Evening Times Cup, which is yet another of the trophies to have eluded my grasp.

"The Emirates Junior Cup is now sadly the one that got away though I have two losing semi- final appearances, both with the Buffs."

The East Kilbride-based ace has teamed up alongside another old stager, 38-year-old Neil Shearer – he's only a boy, says Fabiani – at the heart of Kilwinning's defence in recent seasons.

However, it's a Buffs stopper from further back in time that he regards as his best-ever defensive partner.

He said: "Tam Currie was just unbelievable as a centre-back during our Super Premier title- winning season.

"The funny thing was that I picked up the Player of the Year trophy yet probably had the easiest time of it ever playing in a sweeper role behind Tam, who rarely missed anything in the air or on the deck that season."

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