Ex-Hearts striker Gordon Smith Joins ECU Joondalup

Ex-Hearts striker Gordon Smith Joins ECU Joondalup

Posted on January 14, 2016 in 'News'

Former Hearts striker Gordon Smith has flown to Australia, after deciding it was a case of ‘now or never’ to realise a dream of playing football abroad. The 24-year-old has agreed a season-long deal with PS4 National Premier League WA side ECU Joondalup, after securing his early release from Scottish Championship side Dumbarton.

The striker had spent the first half of the campaign on loan at Cowdenbeath but was keen to ‘try something different’ and was offered the opportunity to go Down Under thanks to a former team-mate of his Dad, Gordon, who also played professionally.

With the QBE NPLWA night Series season getting under way next month, Smith had a decision to make on his future – and he confesses a wintry day playing at Cowdenbeath’s home ground Central Park in November, helped convince him to head to the other side of the world. “A couple of months ago when we played Arbroath the weather ruined the game. The ball was off the pitch every 30 seconds and when the weather’s like that it’s hard to play football,” he explained. “I just thought to myself why not try something different, with different weather, I’m buzzing.”

It was a tough decision to move to the other side of the world, but after speaking to the club he is delighted to start a new chapter in football career. “It was either now or never, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve done it. I could have stayed at Cowdenbeath again or tried something different,” Smith said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve not got any commitments, I’ve not got a wife or anything like that, and I can’t wait to get started.”

ECU Joondalup Coach Dale McCulloch believes Smith the signing of Smith is huge for the club on and off the pitch. “Everyone knows we struggled in front of goal for the last two seasons, and Gordon will give us a massive boost in the final third,” he said. “He comes with a wealth of experience in Scottish football and has an eye for goal will be vital for us this season. We have been creating chances, but not converting them, so with Gordon coming on board along with Steven McGarry it will really give us a real target up top which is pleasing. He will also work with our academy sides and it will be great for the youngsters to have such a professional player working with them.”

Born in Edinburgh, Smith played for Hibernians’ youth teams, but was released by the club and signed for Livingston. He then signed for Scottish Premier League side Hearts in the summer of 2009.  He made his debut as a second-half substitute against Dinamo Zagreb in a UEFA Europa League tie. Smith scored his first goal for the club in his first league appearance, scoring Hearts’ goal in a 1–1 draw with Edinburgh derby rivals Hibs at Easter Road.

The following season Smith was sent on loan to Stirling Albion, and having impressed manager Jim Jefferies whilst on loan at Stirling Albion, he was awarded a new contract at Tynecastle. On his return to Hearts games were limited to substitute appearances, under new manager Paulo Sergio, although he played against Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League. Smith was sent on loan to Hamilton in December 2011, and also had stints at, Raith Rovers and Stirling Albion, before moving to Dumbarton and Cowdenbeath. He has also represented Scotland at under 17’s and under 19’s levels.

The striker spoke to a number of clubs in Australia, but believes ECU Joondalup is the place to be. “I was speaking to a few teams and I had a couple of contacts out in Australia. Willie Herd, who used to play with my Dad at Falkirk, is a youth coach at ECU Joondalup, and he put my name forward, and they were itching to get me. I was offered a decent deal, and they’re going to give me coaching to do as well, and I just thought ‘why not go for it.  I’ve loved playing in Scotland but I’ve always wanted to try playing somewhere else, in a different country.”