Frank Lovering has to go down as a bit of a Benburb legend, a former player and team manager who doubles up as the Govan club’s vice president and Treasurer nowadays, yet when I bumped into him last Saturday, he was talking about pulling on the boots again even though he won’t see another 61st birthday.

“I miss playing. I miss the Juniors and I miss the buzz from going out and competing against an opponent so if I can have my way and finally get my knee fixed then I fancy having a crack at the over 50s game," said the old warhorse who revealed winning a League title with St Anthony's at 45 years of age was overshadowed by a freak training-ground injury – he severely twisted knee ligaments when a dog ran into him – that brought the curtain down on his playing career.

“I was probably a better player in my 40s than in my so-called prime," he joked. "And I also recall one game when I was Beith player/manager and we came up against Kilwinning Rangers who had the Junior Scotland striker Rusty Harkness playing up front yet he never got so much as a sniff of the ball against myself and Beith won 2-0.”

Frank started out at Benburb before moving East to play for a Camelon side that reached the Scottish Junior Cup quarter-finals only to lose out to Pollok, yet the following season found him at Largs Thistle where he would win the West of Scotland Cup.

“He then had stints at Pollok and Cumnock before returning to Tinto Park as player/assistant manager under good friend Andy Dailly.

He recalled: “Andy managed a league title winning Benburb but promised bonus monies were never paid to the players by the people running the Social Club at the time and that team broke up, so I went back to manage Largs for a season and might have stayed longer but for being approached by Dixie Kilcullen and James McKenna to join them at the Ants and I helped them win their first trophy since 1948 before injury struck me down.”

Frank’s next stop was in steering Greenock to promotion before being enticed to take up the reins at Beith and then Largs where he put together another league title winning side only for the lure of Benburb which culminated in a third return to Tinto Park where he was to bed himself down as team manager for the next 13 years.

The need to oversee Benburb’s move along the road to their New Tinto Park stadium convinced Frank to hand over control of team matters to his son and ex-Airdrie defender Paul in 2015 and he says he is delighted to have relinquished his dugout role .

“I really don’t know if I could handle the players nowadays," admitted Frank before adding, “they really are a different breed because the pitch, strips, boots and surroundings have to be perfect or you hear them moaning like spoilt brats.”

“Yet back in my day we would train behind the old Tinto Park goals in three feet of mud and the guys must have enjoyed it as I never heard a single complaint and I would go so far as to say those shared experiences fostered a great dressing room spirit."

As for the current Benburb side, Frank lauded: “The young lad Ciaran Mulcahy is shaping up as a terrific goalscorer and his emergence has allowed big Ryan Livingston to revert to playing at the back where he struts around like George Connelly.

“Kieran O’Hear and Ryan McCrone combine to provide a real driving force in midfield while Willie McLaren is a genius on his day and a throwback to the old days when every team had an outstanding winger.

“Overall, I would say Paul has developed a vastly improved group of players and as long as they don’t get carried away with early season results then promotion is not outwith their grasp .”