Kilmarnock: Chris Burke eager to put career fears behind him

Kilmarnock winger Chris Burke
Kilmarnock winger Chris Burke made his competitive debut in the 4-2 win over Clyde in the Scottish League Cup

New Kilmarnock signing Chris Burke feared his career might be over as he struggled to recover from a virus last season.

The illness restricted Burke to six games for Ross County, but he signed a one-year deal at Rugby Park after proving his fitness as a trialist.

"There were times when I did think, 'am I going to get better'?" said Burke.

"I'll appreciate having football in my life so much more now after what I've been through these last eight months."

Burke, 33, played in pre-season win over Livingston and had been training with the Ayrshire club. After agreeing terms, he made his competitive debut as a substitute in the 4-2 win over Clyde in Scottish League Cup Group E.

That was Burke's first game since featuring against St Johnstone last November. Burke spent the rest of the campaign suffering from a viral condition.

"There was times when it did get me down because all I know is playing football," the former Rangers, Birmingham and Cardiff City winger said.

"It's all I've done since I was a kid and I'm fortunate enough that I've gone on to become a professional footballer.

Chris Burke playing for Kilmarnock
Chris Burke was named as a trialist during Kilmarnock's pre-season

"Throughout that whole time I've been lucky enough to be fit. But then all of a sudden, something hits you like the illness I had and I was just floored. I couldn't do anything.

"I'd try to come back and It'd just floor me again. Hopefully I've come through the end of it now.

"Fortunately, I've managed to get myself re-booted now and have done most of pre-season with Kilmarnock. I'm still looking to gain full fitness. I'm not 100% but I'm getting there."

Capped seven times for Scotland, Burke was part of the Rangers team which won the 2004-05 Scottish Premiership title, and also was in the side which won the 2007-08 Scottish League Cup.

Rugby Park manager Lee McCulloch told the Kilmarnock website: "Chris has had a great career to date and has played at the highest level. With his experience, Chris can pass this on to the youngsters coming through."

"Chris had many options available to him so I'm thrilled that he will be a Kilmarnock player for the upcoming season," said manager Lee McCulloch. He's a great signing for the fans and the dressing room."

Find all the latest football transfers on our dedicated page.

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