Scottish Cup winner Josh Meekings turned down training offer at Inverness Caley Thistle to pursue twin career as sport massage therapist and play part time for Brora Rangers
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JOSH Meekings knocked back the chance to join Caley Thistle for pre-season training before settling on a twin career as sports massage therapist and part-time footballer.
The club legend – one of the famous 2015 Scottish Cup-winning team – held talks with new Inverness manager Billy Dodds and was offered chance to prove his fitness and fight for a full-time contract.
But Meekings, still only 28, decided his fiancée and young daughter would be better served by him embracing a new career outside football while joining ambitious Highland League side Brora Rangers for the next three years.
The centre half, who had post-ICT spells at Dundee and Wealdstone in England’s National League, said: “I had multiple offers from Scottish League One and League Two clubs and I did sit down with Caley Thistle and have discussions.
“The offer they were willing to put in place didn’t suit me. The commitment from their side, at this point in my life, just wasn’t what I felt comfortable with.
“I did go in and see Billy Dodds and we had a good discussion. I respect his plans and thoughts, and I really hope they are successful. They hold a special place in my heart because that is where I got my first professional contract.
“But I have my fiancée Grace to think of and my daughter is about to turn three and go to nursery again. Grace always said she’d follow me where football takes me, but there comes a time when enough is enough in terms of upheaval.
“We need a family base. Grace is from Inverness and it has always felt like home to me. I just think the place is beautiful and the people are so welcoming and kind. Settling back in the Highlands and joining Brora feels right.
“With Brora committing three years, I’m keen to give them something back. Hopefully, we can enjoy success moving forward and reach the Scottish leagues.”
Meekings, while making the sacrifice for his family, has no regrets from an accomplished senior career.
He stressed: “I’m extremely grateful for the career I had, with 250 games and some fantastic experiences.
“When I was 18 years old and released by Ipswich, I never for a minute thought I’d go on to play in Europe, win the Scottish Cup, play in a League Cup final and finish third in the Premiership, all with Caley Thistle.
“These things are written in history now, and I’m really appreciative of that. There still might be some really successful and brilliant days ahead in football with Brora. I really hope there is.”
Meekings has teamed up with some familiar faces at new employers Physio Inverness. Owner Fiona Houston was his physio at Caley Thistle, as was colleague David MacFadyen. Ex-Ross County, Clach and Nairn defender Sean Webb also works for the firm.
Meekings, who completed a diploma in sports massage therapy during lockdown, added: “Fiona has given me this wonderful opportunity and I’m excited to get started.”