The struggles of being a full-back thrust into an unfamiliar centre-back slot are nothing compared with the ‘eye-opener’ of a lockdown summer, says Dundee defender Cammy Kerr.
The club’s longest-serving player insists he’s more than happy to fill in where needed for his beloved Dark Blues but accepts he let himself down in the second half of the 4-1 defeat at Hibs.
Off the park, he most certainly didn’t fall short by joining a former Dens youth coach in doing some delivery work for city foodbanks during this year’s shutdown shutdown.
Kerr volunteered to help deliver food parcels to society’s most vulnerable during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and says it gave him first-hand understanding of what life is like for many outside of the football bubble.
He said: “During lockdown, a guy I know contacted me.
“It was for the Zippy D delivery company and they had been doing work with the foodbanks in Dundee.
“So I offered to help one day a week, going there and picking up basic groceries for people that maybe couldn’t get out of the house or were struggling for money.
“It was a real eye-opener to see how much people were struggling. That’s not to say I don’t have struggles or others don’t.
“But it was a total realisation of things during that time.
“I enjoyed it and it was really good. I have to thank Muzzy Al-Saffar for giving me the opportunity as well as everyone there.
“They were great with me and they gave me a car to run about in while I was helping them.
“But genuinely, it was a total reality check for me in terms of people’s struggles in life.
“You were delivering meals and you had a single mum with four children. She is trying to cook, answer the door, keep an eye on the kids. It is so difficult for people and it makes you appreciate what you have.
“Football is an easy career, it is enjoyable and what plenty of people want to do in life.
“But there is certainly more to life than football and as much as I am obsessed by it, doing the deliveries gave me a total eye opener into what goes on in the city.”
Asked if he got any good-natured stick from Dundee United fans during his round, Kerr added: “No, they were all brand new.
“I did get recognised when I chapped doors but it was all positive. Some people were wanting a quick photo or saying things like, ‘My son’s a United fan but thanks very much’.
“It was good and sometimes there were older people who appreciated it a bit more because they are a Dundee fan.
“It was rewarding for me as well seeing that.”
Today, Kerr is hoping to help the Dark Blues deliver a much-needed victory after a sticky run of results.
Dundee have managed just one win in their last four games, drawing their last two Championship matches ahead of this afternoon’s trip to Ayr United.
“It is a big game for us and it is a really tough place to go to,” Kerr said.
“But we have shown before that we can go there and get good results. We know how sticky it can be but they are a good side and they won’t turn over easily.
“We have looked at the start we have had and we want to be picking up more wins.
“If we do that today, then it looks much better for us. We have to build consistency in our game, picking up points at home which is important.
“But I think on the road last season we were quite good so we need to make sure we continue that at Ayr.”
Kerr will be hoping to be back in his more natural right-back slot after filling in for Lee Ashcroft as a makeshift centre-half during the former Dunfermline man’s time off for a positive Covid-19 test.
Ashcroft returned to training on Monday after missing the 3-3 draw at Alloa, a 3-0 win over Cove Rangers and last Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at Hibs.
He’s likely to be good to go at Somerset Park this afternoon, allowing Kerr to move back to his familiar full-back berth.
“As much as it is a bit alien to me, I have enjoyed it,” he said.
“It is understanding a new role and it is something I want to look at myself in terms of when I am older.
“Whether it is in coaching or management, wee things like that help you learn all the time.
“I went in and did a job for the Alloa game and the Cove match was a bit more comfortable.
“We then went into the Hibs game last Sunday where for 70 minutes, defensively it was good but then I feel I let myself down at the third goal especially.
“My man got a run on me and it is important I learn from that.
“But I have said it before, I will try to do a job wherever I am asked to play.
“I have played centre-half a few times at reserve level and under Neil McCann I played the left and right of a three before.
“But I am honestly not bothered about filling in at any position on the pitch with the exception of goalkeeper obviously!
“Even at youth level I felt I was the one who had to fill in if someone was unavailable.
“So when I was young, I tried to learn as much as I could in every position.
“I try not to think too much about it – as soon as the manager tells you, your head is right on the game.
“But it has been a learning curve for the three games I have played in there.
“It is not as demanding on the legs but I was speaking to big Lee Ashcroft during the week and he says you can be having a good game but it is the wee things like a runner coming across you or your body shape that can determine the outcome of a game.
“It is so important because you are in between the sticks the whole time and there is a lot of pressure in there.
“It is totally different from full-back.”