Derek Riordan, speaking after making his debut for “The Wasps” against Livingston, paid tribute to Alloa Athletic and former boss Paul Hartley for helping to end his exile from football. The 31-year-old almost made an instant impact during his new side's 3-0 loss to Livingston when the Lions' skipper Simon Mensing was sent off for pulling him down as he raced through on goal within a minute of coming on. And now the former Hibernian star has vowed to repay the Clackmannanshire outfit by scoring the goals to help propel them up the SPFL Championship table. "It is great to finally get back playing and obviously I am hugely grateful to Alloa Athletic for giving me the chance, first and foremost to let me train and now to play with them has been great. I much prefer that to sitting in the house watching Soccer Saturday on TV. It feels great to be pulling the boots on again and I really enjoyed it. I had never really intended to sign here, it was just about training to keep fit at first but it is about getting minutes under my belt now, getting back to scoring some goals here and seeing what happens in the summer now.
"I am happy to be here, I feel like I have already been here for a while because I was training here under Paul Hartley and he actually asked me to come into training back in the summer but at that point I was at Dumbarton training with Ian Murray. I have really enjoyed my time here at Alloa so far, it is only ten minutes from my house so it is local for me and I get on brilliant with all the boys. "Obviously, I was down at Carlisle then I thought the Belgian deal was going to go through, the manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink seemed keen on me, then their chairman came out and slated me in the paper so that was that. I understand that clubs are looking at me and being put off because I haven't played football in a year but that's just part and parcel of football. I will now just focus on doing my best for Alloa Athletic, try and score some goals and get myself back to where I should be."
Riordan found himself lining up one of his trademark free kicks only to have it blocked by the arm of Martin Scott who, as luck would have it, would go on to score the killer second goal with a 45-yard wonder strike. The former Scotland international believes that while that kind of luck comes from the poor form his new club are in at the minute, he believes the only way to break the bad run is to start providing the strikers with more chances to score.
He said, "I think as a team we just need to create more chances for the strikers and I am confident of sticking a few away. I think that is the main problem at the club at the minute. The strikers who have been playing haven't had the service and it is going to be hard now because we only have a point in the last five or six games so we need to get our fingers out and start winning games.
"I think it was a handball from my free kick and it is probably Martin Scott that gets his arm up to block it but then that happens all the time from free kicks. I am just eager to get playing again, it was just disappointing with the result.
"To be fair they went down to ten men almost immediately after I came on and after that it looked like we would get something out of the game but Scott's goal, which is an absolute beauty, that kind of knocks the stuffing out of us. He said to me afterwards that the strike was like something out of my book but it was a terrific strike from him and that is what happens when things are going against you. I think the heads dropped after their second goal and that was it, game over for us."
The Wasps fans thought they had their golden debut moment when their new hero fired a shot on goal from 12 yards but the Livingston keeper Darren Jamieson had other ideas and the experienced striker admits it was a top save to deny him.
Riordan added, "For my chance to be fair I thought it was going in. It is a striker's instinct just to hit the ball under the defender's leg, I did that but the goalie did well to get a hand to it and it just wasn't to be."