Jul 10 2009 by Mike Wilson
AYR UNITED ended their search for a goalkeeper on Tuesday when they signed former Scotland under 21 man Craig Samson.
He went straight into the 18 strong squad which flew out to Austria for a five day training camp on Wednesday.
Trialist striker James Lindie, who scored in Saturday’s 4-0 bounce win over Stranraer, was also in the party which will play Wacker Burghausen, a German Third Division team, on Saturday at 5pm.
Boss Brian Reid wants to see more of the 19-year-old Southend United player who previously was on loan with Spanish side CD Javea and non league Grays Athletic.
Reid is still hunting a right back after a move fell through for Durham City skipper Stephen Harrison. The 26-year-old former Sunderland player, who played in the Rozelle match, was keen to come but has now reluctantly pulled out due to work and travel commitments.
Harrison had travelled north with former Queen of the South midfielder Steve Bowey who is now a free agent after Newcastle Blue Star, where he was player-boss, went into administration.
Reid said: “Both were keen to step up from non league. They were right up for the challenge of a higher league but have now decided against due to other factors.
“Bowey is still a good player who would be an experienced character in the dressing room. His wasn’t a position we are desperate to fill but he could have made an impact.”
Samson, 25, began his career withKilmarnock and made his senior debut in 2004 away to Aberdeen. It turned out to be his only appearance and he had spells on loan at Queen of the South and St Johnstone before leaving in 2005.
Samson then had a season each at Dundee United, Ross County and Dundee before moving to England last July leaving Hereford by mutual consent in April 2009.
Reid said: “I know all about Craig after playing with him at Queen of the South. He has played at a good level and has the experience to compete with Stephen Grindlay for the shirt.”
Latvian youth keeper Artur Vaiculis, who was freed by Rangers, impressed at training but his lack of top team chances counted against him.
Goals from Mark Roberts (2), Ryan Stevenson and Lindie eased United to victory against Stranraer who were spared a heavier defeat by on-loan Ayr keeper David Mitchell.
Reid said: “Lindie did reasonably well but I’ll have a closer look at him in Austria. Every team is looking for a striker but we have three good ones so we won’t panic.
“It’s a shame about the right-back –- I thought I had a good one but work commitments killed it.”
Former Clyde skipper Billy Gibson is still two or three weeks away from playing as he recovers from a broken bone in his foot sustained in a training accident at his old club.
Meanwhile, plans fell through to play Czech Premier side Viktoria Pilzen while in Austria and they were replaced by German opposition. The game will take place at Bischofshofen in Salzburg.
Ayr’s training camp at Obertraun in the mountains hosted Morton last weekend. Preston, Aberdeen and Notts County will also be based there this summer.
lFreed Ayr striker Alex Williams scored on his debut for new club Dundalk in a 1-0 win over Derry City.
CRAIG SAMSON: the newly signed keeper flew out to Austria on Wednesday.