Ross McKinnon hopes the New Year will bring a fresh start for his career after a nightmare spell in Holland with SC Veendam.
The 20-year-old, from Greenhills, left Motherwell in June after being out on loan at Alloa for most of last season, helping them lift the Third Division title.
However, what seemed like an exciting move to the continent, has backfired after enduring “the worst time” of his career at the Eerste Divisie side, who play in the second tier of Dutch football.
And having left the club just before Christmas, Ross revealed Partick Thistle manager Jackie McNamara has invited the left-sided player to train with the Jags over the coming weeks as he bids to find a new club.
But, clearly reeling from his disappointment in Holland, Ross – the nephew of Motherwell legend Rab McKinnon – had a few choice words to say about his former manager, Gert Heerkes.
He said: “The guy didn’t even give me a chance.
“I moved out in July and in all that time I didn’t even play one minute of one game.
“He gave me a lot of promises but never kept his word on any of them. It would be fair enough if I wasn’t up to it or I wasn’t trying hard, but I gave everything to get my chance.
“I’ve lost a lot of weight since I went to Holland and I’ve never been as fit as I am now, but no matter what I did and how hard I tried I never got any chance to show what I could do.
“The guy had his favourites and even when there were injuries and suspensions I never got a look in.
“He doesn’t trust anyone but his first 11. It’s been the worst time in my career so far and I can’t tell you what I really think of the guy.”
However, Heerkes admitted he was aware of Ross’ frustration but insisted the youngster wanted to play in midfield rather in the left-back position he had acquired him for.
The Dutchman, who has managed Willem II and been a coach at Heerenveen, told the News: “Ross is a good footballer and had the best left foot at the club when he was here.
“But in Holland a lot of the teams play with a right-winger and we were searching for a left-back to play in our team.
“But Ross later came and told us he was more of a left midfielder than a left-back, which wasn’t what we wanted.
“At first there was also a problem with his fitness and we needed a player who could go from box-to-box, so during the first two-and-a-half months we had someone else playing left-back.
“After Ross got his fitness to a level we were happy with then he tells us he’s more of a midfield player.
“But we had three other players that were better in that position and could do the things we wanted, so it’s not necessary to change a whole team around one player.
“I know he is disappointed he didn’t get the chances he was looking for and that’s unfortunate for him.
“He has good technique and is a good passer of the ball. I hoped he would be a good left-back for us, but it didn’t work out.”
Although livid with his treatment, McKinnon admits he doesn’t see it as a complete waste of time.
He added: “It’s been a really good experience for me to go abroad on my own and live out there.
“I feel in great shape and, given the experience I had with Alloa last season, hopefully someone will take a chance on me in January.
“I spoke to Jackie McNamara and he said I could train with Partick over Christmas and New Year so maybe I can impress him.
“If I train the way I know I can you never know what can happen, but Partick are flying high in the First Division right now and it would be difficult to work my way in there.
“I’m home now and will put the six months at Veendam behind me.”