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Saturday 24th September 2011

Campbell looks to get one goal up on brother although Mum and Dad will settle for draw

The parents of footballing brothers Mark and Martyn Campbell know exactly what result they want when Ayr United host Queen of the South at Somerset Park on Saturday in IRN-BRU SFL First Division duty.

Mark Campbell (left) and Martyn CampbellThe parents of footballing brothers Mark and Martyn Campbell know exactly what result they want when Ayr United host Queen of the South at Somerset Park on Saturday in IRN-BRU SFL First Division duty.

A draw with both Campbell’s scoring would be perfect as Doonhamer Mark explained: “There is never a problem when we come against each other.  We play the game like we would any other game but for my parents, it is a bit more difficult. They have to split their time watching us so if this game finishes 1-1 and we both score, it would probably be the perfect day for them.”

The Campbell brothers' parents have grown used to seeing their boys on opposite sides and have seen them score albeit in different games with Mark saying: “I netted against Ayr back in January 2009 in a 2-2 draw and, of course, my brother scored when they beat us in The Ramsdens Cup at the start of the season so my parents have almost had the perfect game.”

Mark CampbellMark, at 33, is the older brother and the siblings have never been on the same side professionally with the Dumfries centre back saying: “We were at the same boys club in Ayrshire, Valspar, but I am three years older than Martyn so we were in different age groups.

"I played for Morton as a schoolboy signing before joining Stranraer in 1996 whereas Martyn built his career at places like Kello Rovers, Tarff Rovers and Irvine Meadow.”

Sandy McAnespie was the Manager that took Campbell senior to Stair Park and when he was replaced by Campbell Money, the big stopper found himself out on loan to Maybole Juniors.

“I enjoyed my time there,” said Campbell before adding, “The Manager sent me there to toughen me up and it worked as I came back and helped Stranraer win the Second Division in season 1997/98.  We had one season in the First Division and then I moved to Ayr when Gordon Dalziel was the Manager there.”

IMark Campbell in action for Ayr United (2002/03)t was a time of great interest in the Somerset Park club as a bid was made to move the club to the SPL.  However, it was to end in disappointment although Campbell is still grateful to the support he received as a player there.

He explained: “I stayed at Ayr for five years and overall, I enjoyed playing there but I missed a considerable time through a cruciate injury.  The time I missed saw the club in The CIS Insurance Cup Final against Rangers and then a Scottish Cup Semi-Final against Celtic just a week later.

“Whilst it was disappointing to miss out on these occasions, the club treated me well throughout the whole time I was out.  I always like going back to Somerset Park and I do always look for their results especially with Martyn playing there.”

One of Campbell’s former defensive partners at Ayr, John ‘Yogi’ Hughes, took him to Falkirk in the summer of 2004 and after missing out on major Cup Final and Semi-Final occasions at Ayr, he made up for it by having two successes as a Bairn.

Falkirk celebrate winning the Bell's Cup 2004Campbell said: “We beat Ross County to lift the Challenge Cup (then known as The Bell's Cup) in the November and then we won the First Division Championship by 15 points six months later.”

Having been a part-time player throughout his career, Campbell declined the opportunity to be a full-timer in the SPL with Falkirk and joined St. Johnstone after these triumphs however, his time in Perth was brief.

“I was only there for six months but I suffered from an achilles injury for most of it,” said Campbell before adding, “When I was fit again, I felt out of the picture a wee bit so when I got the chance to move to Raith Rovers, I took it.”Gordon Dalziel

The recruiting Manager at Kirkcaldy was a familiar face as Dalziel was in charge of The Fifers, who had ironically finished bottom of the division to Falkirk’s top placing in the First Division the season before.  However, with Gordon Dalziel leaving later that year, it was just one of the twists and turns Campbell had in his time at Stark’s Park.

National Team Manager, Craig Levein, took charge of Raith's affairs for a brief period before present Manager, John McGlynn, came in to look after the then Second Division club. 

The Rovers and Campbell both blossomed during this period with the big stopper saying: “I ended up as the captain of the club and we won promotion to the First Division in April 2009 so it was a really good time.”

Raith Rovers were well established in the First Division in their first season following promotion when Campbell was seriously injured in a car crash that ended his season just a day before Aberdeen were defeated in a Scottish Cup replay that Manager McGlynn dedicated to him as he lay in hospital.

Mark Campbell receives the award as the IRN-BRU Phenomenal Player of the Month for December 2010Campbell said: “I bounced back and started playing again just over six months later.  I must have been doing alright as I won the IRN-BRU SFL Player of the Month in the December.”

Campbell’s roller coaster in Fife came to an end during the summer as he explained: “Dunfermline being promoted had a bit of a double hit on Raith as not only did they deny us a place in the SPL, it also meant that the club missed out on two derby matches with big crowds and economies had to be made.  I was one of 15 players not offered a new deal at the end of last season.”

Word of Campbell’s availability spread quickly and Queen of the South boss Gus MacPherson moved quickly to get in touch to bring the defender back to the west coast.

Campbell said: “I went and met Gus and his assistant, Andy Millen, and things went well.  I have been able to carry on with my work as a PE Instructor at Kilmarnock Prison three days a week and be the only part-time player at Queens.  It is good still to be involved at this level as I would not be giving up my job in the present financial environment.

Queen of the South Manager, Gus MacPherson (right) alongside Assistant Andy Millen“The Manager pulled together a good squad of players quite quickly but despite our wins over Hamilton Accies and Morton, we will not be getting carried away.  The last two results in the League have been great but there is a long way to go.”

One other player that has joined the Doonhamers this summer is a striker that Campbell knows well, former Raith Rovers' team-mate Kevin Smith, although a suspension following his dismissal in Tuesday night’s Scottish Communities League Cup tie with Kilmarnock will rule him out of tomorrow's League encounter at Somerset Park.

Campbell said: “I was delighted to see Kevin come on board as he is a very good player.  He was on loan at Kirkcaldy from Dundee United and you could tell then he was good and it was a surprise to see that he did not make it there or at Notts County but he is very determined to grab goals with us.

Mark Campbell scoring against Partick Thistle (27-8-11)“We had other United boys on loan there as well and one of them, David Goodwillie, has gone on to do rather well for himself and Jonny Russell is another guy that showed us what he could do when he was at Stark's Park.”

Campbell recently showed his own prowess in the penalty box when he nodded in against Partick Thistle and Doonhamer fans can expect a few more from his head as the centre back said: “It is always good to open your account at a new club and I reckon my record for goals as a centre half is not too bad so hopefully, I will get a few more before the season is out.”

As for Ayr United this weekend, Campbell said: “Ayr will be flying after knocking Hearts out of The Scottish Communities League Cup.  Martyn missed that game with a knee injury but is looking to be back for this game.  If he is not, I am sure my Mum and Dad will settle for a 1-0 win for Queen of the South with me scoring the winner!”