FORMER Dunfermline striker, David Hopkirk reckons he’s got a point to prove as he attempts to resurrect his football career at Derry City next season.
The Scot was on the books of Celtic as a youth and burst onto the SPL stage as a 17-years-old with Hamilton as his career began to take shape. He admits he was ‘young and stupid’ at the time as he blew his shot at the big time, claiming he became ‘too big for his boots,’ believing all the hype.
I’ve never really had a manager show faith in me so I’ll go to Derry and try play every week and show people what I can do, score goals, create things and go from there.David Hopkirk
The former Scottish U19 international went on to have spells with Hearts, Queen of the South and at Annan Athletic where City boss, Shiels first cast his eyes over the player and enquired about his services while managing Greenock Morton.
The attacking 24-years-old is ‘excited’ to begin a ‘fresh challenge’ at Derry next season following his release from Dunfermline last month and believes he can light up the new Brandywell Stadium with his goals and creativity.
“I know I can play at a higher level and know I’m good enough. I’ve never really had a manager show faith in me so I’ll go to Derry and try play every week and show people what I can do, score goals, create things and go from there. “I want to get my head down, work hard and go from there so we’ll see what happens.”
Having been billed as a hot prospect during his early SPL days, Hopkins insists he’s learned from mistakes made and is at the right age to reignite his career in Ireland.
“I dont think I was ready at that age. I was probably advised wrong and got too big for my boots. But now I’ve grown up I think I’m at a good age to go on from here and enjoy my football again. I didn’t enjoy football at Dunfermline. I just want to enjoy it again.
“As soon as Kenny came over to speak to me it was good to see a manager showing keen interest straight away.
“I was scared about it, but excited as well. I was just buzzing to go. I had other offers from teams in the Championship but I had made my mind up straight away and it felt like a challenge - a fresh start.”
Hopkirk is determined to repay the faith Shiels has shown in him and produce the goods for the Candy Stripes when the new Airtricity Premier Division campaign begins on February 16th.
Dunfermline midfielder, Dean Shiels was sent on a scouting mission for his father to sound out Hopkirk’s interest in joining Derry City.
And when the ex-Scottish U19 international declared his willingness for a ‘fresh challenge’ in the League of Ireland, the City boss flew to Scotland to hold face-to-face talks and complete the deal.
Hopkirk has been on Shiels’ radar since his days with Annan Athletic, and he’s delighted to finally team up with the City boss.
“I think I was at Annan Athletic at the time and we were playing either Kilmarnock or Morton, I can’t remember which team he was managing at the time but I remember doing well in the match.
“And it came about he was trying to sign me so I knew him from then,” explained Hopkirk.
“I didn’t know what was happening with Dunfermline but as soon as I left, Dean Shiels phoned me. He asked what I thought and told me his dad was interested. So as soon as Kenny came over to speak to me it was good to see a manager showing keen interest straight away.
“I was scared about it but excited as well. I was just buzzing to go. I had other offers from teams in theScottish Championship but I had made my mind up straight away and it felt like a challenge - a fresh start.
“I believe everything happens for a reason and this move came about at the right time. It’s a good time for me to kick on and show everyone what I can actually do.
“I just want to get started. I don’t know much about the league but it’s something which excites me and hopefully I can do well.”
And Shiels admitted the player has been on his wanted list since his days managing in the SPL.
“I tried to sign him at Kilmarnock and I tried to sign him at Morton and he wasn’t available. He’s just become available and I’ve been following his progress. He’s a really good attacking player with flair and he’s one who will bring creativity and goals to the team.”