IT was snowing when former Scotland international Garry Kenneth left his homeland on Monday to continue his football journey with Adamstown Rosebud.
So when the 27-year-old had a taste of Newcastle’s beaches on Wednesday, he understandably looked a fish out of water.
But Adamstown are confident the 1.93-metre defender will stand out for a different reason when the Northern NSW National Premier League kicks off for Rosebud at home against Weston on April 12.
Kenneth is one of several high-profile additions to the NPL this year and one of three at Rosebud, who finished eighth in their return to the top flight last season.
Former Newcastle Jets Stuart Musialik and Guy Bates will lead their attack, but Kenneth will be the foundation of their defence.
On Wednesday, though, Kenneth was focused on settling in and soaking up his new surrounds.
‘‘I’ve been to Merewether for a bite to eat, I’ve been up to the oval and where I’m staying, so I’ve seen quite a bit of Newcastle already,’’ Kenneth said.
‘‘It’s absolutely beautiful.
‘‘It was snowing in Scotland when I left. It was minus three and a half, so today has been a big change, but it’s been nice.’’
The NNSW NPL is a long way from the heights of the Scottish Premier League, the Scotland national team and £500,000 ($979,000) contract offers for Kenneth.
A Dundee United product, he was part of the club’s 2010 Scottish Cup final win over Ross County and played for Scotland twice that year.
The breakthrough season came after Dundee United were believed to have rejected an offer of £500,000 for Kenneth, whom the club valued at £2million after the 2009-10 campaign.
After 163 games for Dundee United, he signed a three-year deal with English League Two side Bristol Rovers, but a knee reconstruction in early 2013 further stalled his career.
Stints in Scottish lower divisions with Brechin City and Carnoustie Panmure followed before the chance to come to Australia.
Although keen to get himself back in the shop window for professional clubs, Kenneth was not looking too far beyond this season.
‘‘It’s a great opportunity to come see a different part of the world and experience the way football is played over here,’’ he said.
As for the A-League, Kenneth said: ‘‘I’ve started watching more of it now, to see what the standards are, but I’m focused first on playing here.
‘‘I’m just going to take it one game at a time.
‘‘After a few months I’ll see how things are going and see about making it a goal then, but up until then I’m just going to try and enjoy playing football and get back playing.’’
A bonus for Kenneth on arrival was the news he would likely get the chance to mark former Leeds United and Sunderland striker Michael Bridges, who will play for Lambton Jaffas this season.
‘‘I didn’t know that,’’ he said.
‘‘He played at a high level when Leeds were a top team and they had Harry Kewell and [Mark] Viduka, so that will be good.’’
Former Socceroo Matt Thompson will play for Maitland, while the NPL gained another international flavour last week when Korean Lee Soo-myung joined the Jaffas.