Simeon Jackson knew he was in the right place when he was “taken out” five minutes into his first Kilmarnock training session.
After months of training on his own and waiting for the phone to ring, the Canada striker was delighted to be back in amongst the intensity of a proper session.
The 32-year-old did enough in a week’s training with the Ayrshire side to be offered a contract until January and could make his debut in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Premiership encounter with Livingston at Rugby Park.
Jackson had been without a club since leaving St Mirren at the end of May after netting six goals in 30 league games. And he welcomed the chance to prove himself among a Kilmarnock squad who have been used to success over the past two years.
The former Blackburn and Coventry player said: “It’s a really good team. Straight away even from training, I have had to work my way in and got a few tackles laid in straight away to welcome me.
“That’s good, it sums up a good dressing room and good spine to the team so I’m looking forward to it.
“Jeez man, the first five minutes I was like ‘welcome’. I think it was Alan Power who took me out in the first five minutes and I was like ‘yeah, I need to get used to this’.
“But you want to be in those sort of teams where you are fighting for it every day and working hard for each other.
“It’s a great dressing room, they have all welcomed me and there’s a good team spirit and togetherness. Everyone works hard for each other, there are no big-times or anything, everyone gets stuck into it.”
Being part of a team again is a major lift for Jackson following several months out of work.
“It’s not easy, I tell you that much,” he said. “I’ve got a few bills to pay and catch up with.
“It’s a testing time but with the right people around you, like I have, and with the work ethic and mindset, you just keep going until opportunities like this come up. I am lucky enough to get the opportunity.
“I was training with a few clubs, speaking to a few clubs before here. You are not sure what’s happening and things come up and go quiet, and you are just kind of hanging around waiting.
“When Killie call, you drop everything and find your way up here.”
When asked to describe what life is like without a club, Jackson said: “Train every day. You don’t think about it, you just do it, and get ready for when these times come around.
“Training by yourself is not the easiest thing to do, it’s a grind, but (if) you love the game enough and you want to be a professional, then that’s what it takes and you do it.”
The hard yards on his own and the belief that something would come his way have now paid off.
“Coming into training and seeing what the standard is like, what the intensity is like, that’s the environment you want to be in,” he said.
“There is an expectation and intensity every day and that’s a recipe for success.”
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