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Football: WILLIE HAS SLOT GOING FOR HIM AT GLENS; WEST JUNIORS.

WILLIE HOWIE is aiming for the jackpot after taking a gamble on turning junior.

The midfielder, who installs fruit machines for a living, swopped Partick Thistle for Glenafton just over a year ago, teaming up with former Firhill gaffer Gerry Collins at the New Cumnock club.

And Howie, whose side face Clydebank in the Scottish Cup first round tomorrow, is hoping to get lucky when it comes to lifting silverware this term. He said: "I spent seven years at Thistle, joining straight from school.

"It was a bombshell when I was released although I was expecting it. I struggled to get a job for a while but I have been with a company called Leisure Link, who install fruit machines, for three months

"The junior scene wasn't in my thoughts but joining Glenafton opened my eyes and since I got a job I have really started to enjoy my football again.

"I think being lazy off the park makes you lazy on it as well."

Glens appeared in three consecutive Scottish Cup finals between 1992-1994 and won the trophy in 1993.

Howie said: "We know it's going to be a difficult one against Clydebank but Glenafton were a major force in the Scottish Cup a few years back and I would love to be part of another era like that. The Bankies are going great guns at the moment and if we think we can go there with a Billy Big-time attitude we're in for a very difficult match.

"But I'm pretty sure there will be a large turnout and hopefully we can send our supporters back down the road happy.

"They have been first class since I came here and I would love to help the club bring back the glory days.

"When I was at Thistle I looked down on the junior game but it's littered with guys I played against when I was senior.

"I believe our only problem is the size of our squad. If one of us gets injured then we don't really have enough quality to replace us.

"But Gerry has told me he is going to strengthen with some big-name players and that can only benefit everyone who is already there.

"I know I install fruit machines for a living now but I am looking for luck to play a part in my life on the pitch as well as off it."

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FRUIT TO SUCCESS: Willie Howie
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 29, 2006
Words:406
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