Despite clocking up his 250th appearance for Crusaders in the 2-2 draw with Glentoran — and marking the occasion with a trademark sublime strike — David Rainey is not willing to reflect on past glories for too long.
There’s a very good reason why the former Glentoran striker is looking ahead rather than back.
At the age of 35, the experienced goal-getter knows he needs to convince Crues boss Stephen Baxter that he deserves another one-year contract.
If Rainey keeps scoring goals like the clinical finish he produced against his former employers, pen is likely to hit paper next summer. However, the ex-Ards striker knows there is significant competition for places at Seaview and he’s been around the game long enough not to make any predictions.
As he reflects on hitting a special milestone for the Crues, he’s not letting his appetite for silverware dwindle.
“I’m 35 now and my contract is up at the end of the season,” said Rainey.
“So it’s a big season for me and I need to convince the manager I’m worth another deal.
“I’ll work hard as I always do and hopefully steer clear of more injuries. But the competition for places has hotted up since Timmy Adamson’s arrival and if you aren’t performing you’ll be on the bench. That’s what life is like at a top club. Crusaders had to strengthen but everyone else is the same.
“Look at Linfield bringing in players like Rory Patterson, Daryl Fordyce, Albert Watson and Gary Browne, established players added to an already strong squad.”
Rainey has scored 119 goals in his 250 appearances — he’s by some distance the marksman with the most goals on the Shore Road.
Jordan Owens has some catching up to do, scoring 64 times in 160 appearances. Four of his team-mates have passed the 250 mark for the Crues — Stephen McBride (359), David Magowan (294), Colin Coates (287) and Chris Morrow (281).
Rainey left Ards to join the Crues in 2005, helping the Hatchetmen fight their way out of the Intermediate League.
Now the 2009 Irish Cup winners have very different targets.
“I could never have predicted how much we have progressed since then,” added Rainey.
“We won one Irish Cup final and lost one but losing to Linfield in an Irish Cup final is no shame for a club like Crusaders.”