Former Derby County midfielder and Bristol Rovers captain Paul Coutts has signed for fifth-division Scottish side Inverurie Loco Works at the age of 35.
Coutts most recently spent the last two seasons at the Memorial Stadium under Joey Barton’s guidance, having been made club captain by the ex-Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder in 2021.
The veteran has a wealth of experience from his time in English football, having been at clubs such as Derby County – where he signed from Preston North End for £150,000 – Sheffield United, Fleetwood Town and Salford City, among others.
Coutts was reportedly set to retire and join Barton’s coaching staff at the Gas, according to the Bristol World, but has opted to prolong his playing career even further.
Now, the Aberdeen academy graduate is back home in his native Scotland and will join Andy Low’s side for the 2023/24 campaign, having trained with the team for the past few weeks.
Completing his badges
Speaking to club media, head coach Low admitted how happy he is that Coutts has arrived at Harlaw Park, citing his experience and quality as two beneficial traits for the Locos:
“Couttsy is a brilliant signing for the club and he will bring so much quality, knowledge and experience to us all, both on and off the park, having worked at the top level for so long.”
Low also revealed that Coutts had full-time offers on the table from teams in Scotland and England but opted to move to the fifth-tier outfit and will work on his coaching badges while at the club:
“It’s one that has been in the background for a couple of months now and I always felt there was a chance during initial chats that we had, although admittedly even I felt this one was very ambitious.
“He had many full-time opportunities in England and Scotland but the mix of coming back home to his family whilst continuing playing locally, and back in the SHFL was what suited him best.
“Once it all became a possibility, his enthusiasm to be part of it during our discussions has been fantastic, and it was all agreed very quickly.
“He is currently going through his A Licence with the English FA so he will also have the opportunity to work with us on the coaching side too.”
Coutts clearly wanted to work on his coaching badges, hence why he joined the Locos rather than accepting a full-time playing role with other suitors as a part-time contract will allow him to focus on both.
This move makes a lot of sense for the veteran for transitioning his career into coaching in the near future.