SHAMROCK ROVERS goal hero Gary Twigg has revealed just how close he came to not joining the club three years ago -- and suggested he would be open to extending his stay with the Dubliners.
Twigg is out of contract at the end of the season and said there has been no discussions yet about a fresh contract. The Scot has proved to be a revelation in his new home and continued his fine start to the new campaign with the decisive goal in Friday's derby win over arch rivals Bohemians.
However, if the 28-year-old had taken a different decision back in 2009, he could have been working as an occupational therapist in his native land. "The day I signed for Rovers, I was supposed to be starting a job to do occupational therapy," said Twigg.
"I got a call from Michael O'Neill on Sunday night saying: 'We need you here on a flight tomorrow morning'.
"I was in the casino playing poker. He's phoning me and I'm thinking, 'what do I do?' My missus is from Northern Ireland and I had just moved my family to Scotland.
"There were a few lads from Motherwell in the poker tournament and I asked them what should I do. On instinct, I said yes. But I don't think people realise how close it was. It's something I'm so thankful I've done."
Twigg, who made a Premier League debut with Derby as a teenager, admitted that he became disillusioned with the game in the Scottish lower leagues until he started playing part-time under O'Neill at Brechin.
"I didn't like football," he said. "I just wasn't interested. I kept getting injured. When it came to Saturday, I just thought: 'I'd rather be sitting in watching Jeff Stelling and the boys than going out to play football'.
"I didn't have responsibilities and I had money from Derby, so I might have got in a rut. It was only when I went to Brechin that I found my love again for the game."