Cancer survivor Jordan Moore has revealed his anger after receiving a series of knock-backs from managers who claimed his health battles made him too much of a risk to sign.
The former Dundee United striker twice faced down skin cancer before bravely beating the disease.
But the 22-year-old claims some clubs have been reluctant to offer him a deal in case he suffers a relapse.
In one instance, he was even told he would not be offered a deal by one club because the coaches were worried about the reaction of supporters once they heard they had signed a former cancer victim.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Moore, who also had productive loan spells with Airdrie, Dunfermline and Queen’s Park during his Tannadice stay.
“That’s the worst thing about it. You’d be surprised by the amount of people who would phone from clubs down south interested in me but then pull out after finding out what I’d been through, saying things like ‘it’s too big a risk’.
“I’d rather they say I wasn’t good enough or they didn’t fancy me.
“I had one former club in Scotland say to me, ‘We can’t sign the boy who had cancer. What would the fans think?’
“That made me very angry because it was someone who I cared about.
“I’m fighting against all the other players to get a team but I also have that extra uphill battle to prove myself because of what happened to me.
“I don’t think this is a stigma I’ll be able to get rid off. I think I’ll always be the boy who had cancer.”
After overcoming the disease for a second time, Moore was given just a one per cent chance of resurrecting his playing career.
But he is refusing to give up.
Released by United earlier this year, he moved to League of Ireland side Limerick in February to prove he can still handle the strains of the professional game.
He has now returned to Scotland to take part in PFA Scotland’s exit trials, while former Tannadice coach Darren Jackson – number two to Gary Locke at Raith Rovers – has invited him to train with the Kirkcaldy club next week.
“Everything that has happened to me just makes me more determined to keep going,” he said. “Okay I had cancer but I’ve beat it. Now I just want to go enjoy myself. That’s why I went to Ireland. I wanted to get my name away from what I’ve had to go through. I just wanted to be another player in a team.
“Now, though, I feel it is time to come home to Scotland. I just need someone to take a chance. I’m not looking for a lot of money. I just want to do it for the love of football and for being healthy every day.
“If anybody is willing to take a chance they will see how hard-working I am and how dedicated I’ll be.
“Cancer makes you very strong-minded. Before I might have paid attention to people doubting me but now I just think does it really matter? Life is too short to worry about what a certain manager thinks.
“I’m just focusing on working hard. I still speak to people like Ryan Gauld, who I played with at United. He’s at Sporting Lisbon now but always says hard work is the most important thing.
“If someone doing as well at a big club as he is uses that motto then I know I need to put myself in that same mould if I want to do well.”
Moore is among more than 30 out-of-contract pros taking part in the exit trials at Clyde’s Broadwood Stadium.
They will receive two weeks’ worth of coaching ahead of a showcase match on Saturday, which will be attended by scouts from up and down the country.
Of the 36 players who took part last year, all but two were picked up by interested clubs.
“PFA Scotland have been excellent, not just with the exit trials but also with the help they gave me during my struggles,” said Moore.
“As professionals, we only pay a small amount to them each month but they do so much to help so many players.”