bell injury

Watching Steven Bell now, it's hard to believe that at one point, his career looked like it was over.

Bell was out of the game for 3 years, after suffering a horrific achilles injury against Morton at Cappielow in November 2010.

The following spring, he was on course for a comeback, until a further 5-inch tear to the same tendon halted his progress in its tracks.

When he appeared as a trialist for Stranraer back in October 2013, it sparked an outpouring of goodwill from Dundee to Dumfries, Stirling to Dunfermline, and beyond.

Bell was offered a short-term deal at Stair Park after proving his fitness, and signed despite interest from several Championship clubs.

Fast forward 3 years, and it's testament to his character that Steven is one of the first names on the teamsheet every week.

He's helped the Blues to the playoffs in 3 consecutive seasons, and now leads the team from the centre of defence as captain.

But it's been one hell of a journey to get here.

sbellqosSteven Bell rose through the youth ranks at Tannadice, signing professional forms in 2002.

His first team activity was limited to involvement in the matchday squad, although he did get a run out in a pre-season friendly against Bolton Wanderers in July 2004.

Queen of the South saw his potential, and in January 2005 signed the young midfielder to a deal.

Unfortunately, injuries curtailed his career at Palmerston, and he only made 4 appearances for the Dumfries side before signing for Stirling Albion in the summer.

At Forthbank, Bell was part of a strong Binos side which also featured Blues assistant manager Chris Aitken and current Scotland international Robert Snodgrass.
He scored 9 goals in 2006/07 - one of which, at 15 seconds, was the joint-fastest in the club's history - as the part-timers achieved promotion to the old First Division, defeating Airdrie in a dramatic playoff final.

The following term, Stirling were automatically relegated back to the Second Division with only 4 wins in 36 games.

However, Bell had already impressed the top brass at Dunfermline Athletic with his energetic performances in the middle of the park.

Jim McIntyre secured his signing on a pre-contract in January 2008, and Bell made a full-time move to Fife as a 23 year old that May.

sbelldafcHe soon won the hearts of the East End Park crowd with his high-tempo, physical brand of football.

Dunfermline failed to challenge for promotion to the SPL in his first season, ending the campaign 14 points adrift of champions St Johnstone. However, a late rally did see them finish 3rd.

In 2009/10, another slow start meant the Fife side were again trying to claw back a points defecit.

In the penultimate game of the season against Morton in April 2010, Bell achieved his first senior hat trick, with one in the bottom left corner, one into the bottom right, and one from the spot.

His side fought their way up to 3rd by the end of the season.

2010/11 would finally bring success back to Dunfermline, but misery for Bell.

The Pars were 2nd in the league and riding the crest of a wave when the midfielder suffered his agonising injury, just 18 minutes into their clash with Morton on 6 November 2010.

He was forced to watch from the sidelines as his teammates battled it out for the title, which they eventually secured - back at Cappielow - on 30 April 2011.

The 2011/12 season came and went for Bell, ending with relegation and financial woes for the Pars. He would never play for Dunfermline again, and was released from his contract in May 2012.

With 17 goals from midfield in 83 total appearances for the Fife side, another club would surely come calling if he could return to full fitness.

Easier said than done.

 belly2Bell spent a further 17 months on the sidelines following his release.

By October 2013 however, he was back in shape.

Stranraer manager Stevie Aitken knew Bell could bring quality to the Blues midfield, and gave him a chance.

He made his debut as a trialist with a 5 minute cameo at Forfar's Station Park.

Impressive performances against Stenhousemuir and former side Dunfermline got tongues wagging, and he was soon the subject of interest from Championship clubs.

However, Bell was determined to repay the faith Aitken had in him, and instead signed a short-term deal at Stair Park until the January window.

He made his official bow on 2 November 2013 in a thrilling Scottish Cup tie against Auchinleck Talbot at a muddy Stair Park, which saw the Blues fight back from 2-0 down to earn a replay.

A fortnight later, Bell opened his account for Stranraer with a late winner against East Fife.
bell dunfermline
By the time January rolled around, he was signed until the end of the season - and returned to haunt Dunfermline, heading home after only 16 minutes to give his new side the lead at East End Park on 11 January 2014.

With Stranraer finishing a remarkable 3rd in the league behind Rangers and the Pars, he scored a dramatic winner in the closing seconds of the playoff semi final 1st leg against Dunfermline at Stair Park.

Although the Blues would bow to defeat in the second leg, Bell continued his superb form the following season.

Now a wily veteran, he played a huge part in the title challenge of 2014/15. Stranraer fell at the final hurdle with losses to full-time sides Dunfermline and Morton, eventually bowing out to Forfar in the playoffs.

Current manager Brian Reid was tasked with regrouping and rebuilding what was left of Aitken's team in summer 2015.
 bellyOne of his first big decisions was to make Steven Bell his captain.

It wasn't the easiest of starts for Reid's new-look Stranraer side. At Christmas, the Blues sat at the bottom of the League 1 tree, and change was needed.

It came in the form of signings Cameron Belford, Liam Dick and Willie Gibson, but also via a rejuvenated Stevie Bell at centre back, with the skipper learning a completely new position as he passed 100 appearances for Stranraer.

Bell shored up the Blues defence, keeping 10 clean sheets in 18 games as his team miraculously reached the promotion playoffs for a 3rd season in a row.

This time they went one better, reaching the final - only to lose out to Ayr United on penalties.

The captain was one of the first to sign on for 2016/17, and reached his 150th appearance the following season.

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Arbroath 17 45
2 Raith Rovers 17 32
3 East Fife 17 26
4 Forfar Athletic 17 24
5 Montrose 17 21
6 Airdrieonians 17 20
7 Stranraer 16 20
8 Dumbarton 17
9 Brechin City 16 16
10 Stenhousemuir 17 15


2018/19 Squad

1 - Max Currie (GK)
2 - Daniel Higgins (DEF)

3 - Chris McGowan (DEF)
4 - Andy McDonald (DEF)
5 - David Brownlie (DEF)
6 - Connor McManus (MID)
7 - Mark Lamont (MID)
8 - Kyle Turner (MID)
10 - Luke Donnelly (STR)
11 - Grant Anderson (M/S)
12 - Ian Smith (MID)

13 - Lyle Avci (GK)
14 - Cameron Elliott (MID)
16 - Max Ashmore (MID)
17 - David Smith (D/M)
18 - Innes Cameron (STR)
19 - Ciaran Diver (STR)
20 - PJ Crossan (STR)

22 - Jamie Hamill (DEF)
23 - Adam Cummins (DEF)