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|Full name||Scott Benjamin Laird|
|Date of birth||15 May 1988|
|Place of birth||Taunton, England|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Playing position||Left back|
|2006–2007||→ Tiverton Town (loan)||18||(4)|
|2007||→ Torquay United (loan)||2||(0)|
|2008||→ Stevenage (loan)||15||(1)|
|2012–2015||Preston North End||84||(5)|
|2016–2017||→ Walsall (loan)||28||(3)|
|2017–2019||Forest Green Rovers||35||(2)|
|2019||→ Walsall (loan)||7||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 22:40, 15 May 2019 (UTC)|
Laird began his football career as a trainee at Plymouth Argyle, progressing through the club's centre of excellence. He spent eight years on the club's books, but only managed to make one first–team appearance for the club. In 2006, he was loaned out to Tiverton Town, playing a total of 20 games for the club, scoring four times. He was later loaned to Torquay United in September 2007, making two appearances for the side. Another loan spell followed, this time to Stevenage in late 2007. Laird impressed under manager Peter Taylor and signed on a permanent basis at the start of February 2008.
He was voted the club's Player of the Year for the 2009–10 season, a season in which the Hertfordshire side won promotion to the Football League for the first time in their history. He played an integral role in the club's 2010–11 campaign the following year, helping Stevenage earn promotion to League One. He left Stevenage when his contract expired in 2012, and joined Preston North End. He spent three years at Preston, culminating in promotion to the Championship during the 2014–15 season. Laird joined League One side Scunthorpe United in June 2015, spending the 2016–17 season on loan at Walsall. In June 2017, he signed for Forest Green Rovers. Laird rejoined Walsall on loan in January 2019 for the remainder of the 2018–19 season.
Laird has also represented Scotland at youth level, captaining the Scotland U16 team and also at various youth levels. Laird was called up for the England C side in April 2009, starting in a game against the Belgium U21 team.
Laird began his football career as a trainee at Plymouth Argyle's centre of excellence. He made the hour journey to Plymouth from his Bridgwater home to train with the club every Tuesday and Thursday. Laird attracted interest from Scottish side Rangers in 2003, with the SPL club enquiring about the player after his performances for Scotland in the Victory Shield. No move materialised, and he continued to progress through the youth system at Home Park, and was offered a professional contract at the age of 17 by manager Tony Pulis in February 2006. During his time as an apprentice, Laird lived in a hotel "just for apprentices" with Luke Summerfield, Reuben Reid, and Chris Zebroski, and described the experience as a "great way to grow into football".
The following season, Laird joined Tiverton Town of the Southern Football League on an initial one-month loan in September 2006. He made his debut for the club in Tiverton's 2–1 victory against Wealdstone, and played in the following game against Cheshunt. The loan was extended for a further five months, and Laird scored his first goal for the club in a 4–1 defeat at Hemel Hempstead Town on 5 April 2007. Two days later, he scored twice in Tiverton's 3–1 home win against Cirencester Town, netting both of his goals in the space of four minutes to give Tiverton a two-goal lead. A week later, he scored again, netting the opening goal of the game as Tiverton lost 4–1 to King's Lynn. Laird played a total of 21 games for the club, 17 in the league, scoring four times from a central midfield role. Laird returned to Plymouth ahead of the 2007–08 season, and was subsequently handed his Plymouth debut in a 2–1 victory over Wycombe Wanderers in the League Cup, playing the whole match and assisting Plymouth's second goal. However, he did not appear in the first–team for Plymouth again and was loaned out to nearby Conference Premier side Torquay United a month later. Laird made his Torquay debut in a 5–2 victory against Kidderminster Harriers at Aggborough, and also featured in a 3–2 victory over Weymouth. Although his loan at Torquay was extended in November, he did not make any more first–team appearances for the club, and so played just twice for Torquay United during his two-month loan spell.
A month after returning to his parent club, Laird was loaned out to another Conference Premier team in the form of Stevenage on 31 December 2007. He made his Stevenage debut a day later in a 2–1 win over Rushden & Diamonds. Laird impressed under manager Peter Taylor and signed on a permanent basis at the start of February, for an undisclosed fee. He featured regularly at left–back during the second half of the 2007–08 season, and scored his first goal for Stevenage in a 4–1 victory away at Histon, a 35-yard strike into the top right hand corner of the net. The following season, under the new management of Graham Westley, Laird featured regularly again, playing 51 games in total for the Hertfordshire side, scoring three times in total. Laird scored his first goal of the 2008–09 season in Stevenage's first win of the season; a 3–1 victory away to Barrow in August 2008. His second goal of the campaign came in an FA Cup tie against Horsham, while his third goal of the season came in Stevenage's last regular Conference Premier fixture of the season in a 2–1 defeat away to Mansfield Town. Laird was also a key part in the side's successful FA Trophy campaign, featuring in six matches. However, he missed the final at Wembley Stadium as a result of being sent–off in the defeat to Cambridge United in the Conference Premier play-off semi-final. In his absence, Stevenage beat York City 2–0 in the FA Trophy final.
Laird continue to impress at full-back for Stevenage in the first half of the 2009–10 season. He scored his first goal of the season in a 2–0 victory over Histon at Bridge Road in August 2009; the ground he coincidentally scored his first ever Stevenage goal in 2008. In September 2009, Laird scored a highly significant goal when his 85th-minute strike ensured Stevenage beat local rivals Luton Town 1–0 at Kenilworth Road in the first ever league meeting between the two clubs. He scored a similar looking goal in a 4–0 win over Barrow, before also scoring the winning goal in a victory over Oxford United; stroking home a second half penalty to score the only goal of the game. Laird's fifth goal of the season followed shortly after, when he converted another penalty in a 2–0 win against Forest Green Rovers. He scored another goal from the penalty spot ten days later in a 1–0 win over Gateshead. Laird made 53 appearances during Stevenage's promotion-winning campaign, more than any other player for the club during the season, scoring a total of six goals. He was also voted as Stevenage's Player of the Year at the end of the season, as voted for by Supporters Association members and season ticket holders at the club. Laird signed a new two–year contract with the Hertfordshire club in May 2010. He was voted as the 2009–10 Young Player of the Year at the National Game Awards. At the Football Conference's Annual Presentation Dinner, Laird was also named in the Team of the Year, alongside fellow Stevenage defenders Ronnie Henry and Mark Roberts.
He started in the club's first ever Football League fixture at the start of the 2010–11 season, a 2–2 home draw with Macclesfield Town. In September 2010, in games against Cheltenham Town and Torquay United respectively, Laird was used as a left midfielder, as opposed to playing in his usual left-back position. He reverted to the left-back spot in Stevenage's 1–0 win over Lincoln City at Sincil Bank. He scored his first goal of the 2010–11 season from the penalty spot, in a 2–1 win over Burton Albion in October 2010. A week later, he missed the chance to double his goal tally for the season, missing a second-half penalty in a 0–0 draw against Morecambe. Coincidentally, Laird's second goal of the season came in the reverse fixture against Morecambe in January 2011; he scored from close range following John Mousinho's cross to give Stevenage the lead. Just three days later, Laird scored once again, netting with a curling effort from 25 yards out to give Stevenage their third goal of a 3–0 win against Rotherham United. At the age of 22, Laird captained Stevenage for the first time in their 1–0 loss to Hereford United on 8 March 2011. In the club's following match, against Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park, he was sent-off for two bookable offences, although Stevenage held on to win the match 1–0. Laird's fourth goal of the campaign came in Stevenage's 3–3 draw against Bury on 7 May 2011, as he opened the scoring with a strike from 25 yards out. He played a total of 54 games during the 2010–11 season, scoring four goals. This included three appearances in the 2010–11 League Two play-offs following Stevenage's sixth-placed finish. Following a 3–0 aggregate victory over Accrington Stanley, Stevenage earned promotion to League One after a 1–0 win against Torquay United at Old Trafford on 28 May 2011, with Laird playing the whole game.
Laird played in Stevenage's first ever League One fixture on 6 August 2011, playing the whole match in a 0–0 home draw against Exeter City. Laird's first goal of the campaign came two weeks into the new season, on 20 August, scoring with a header from Robin Shroot's corner to ensure Stevenage came from two goals down to draw against Hartlepool United. He also scored against Huddersfield Town on 8 October, scoring with a first time finish to briefly restore parity in an eventual 2–1 loss. Laird's impressive start to the 2011–12 season resulted in a "number of Championship clubs" tracking the player. Laird scored the winning goal in a 2–1 victory against Sheffield United on 5 November, converting from the penalty spot with eight minutes remaining. A week later, on 12 November, he scored the only goal of the game as Stevenage defeated Hartlepool United 1–0 in the FA Cup. Laird's fifth goal of the campaign came on 26 December, scoring Stevenage's fourth goal in a 6–1 away victory at Colchester United, calmly scoring from close range following a well-worked free-kick. He was on the scoresheet once again in Stevenage's 4–2 home win against Milton Keynes Dons in January 2012, heading in Luke Freeman's cross to ensure Stevenage overcame an early deficit to take the lead. The left-back scored his seventh goal of the campaign in manager Gary Smith's first league game in-charge, a 1–0 away victory at Sheffield Wednesday. He scored further goals in draws against Chesterfield and Sheffield United respectively, taking his goal tally to nine for the season. Laird finished as the club's second highest goalscorer for the campaign, as Stevenage missed out on a third successive promotion following a play-off semi-final defeat. At the end of the season, it was announced that Laird had rejected an improved contract offer and would be leaving the club on a free transfer when his contract expired. Laird made 245 appearances during his four years with the club, scoring 24 goals.
In May 2012, Laird signed for League One side Preston North End on a free transfer. The move reunited him with manager Graham Westley, who had previously managed Laird at Stevenage. He made his Preston debut in the club's first game of the 2012–13 season, playing the whole match in 2–0 home win over Huddersfield Town in the League Cup. Laird scored his first goals for the club in a 5–0 win against Hartlepool United at Deepdale in September 2012, netting twice within the space of three second-half minutes. His third goal of the season came in a 3–1 away victory at Doncaster Rovers on 2 October 2012, heading in Joel Byrom's cross to restore Preston's lead in the match. He added to his goal tally a month later, "acrobatically volleying in Chris Robertson's knockdown" in a 1–1 home draw with Brentford. In the club's next match, a home game against Notts County on 20 November 2012, Laird suffered a broken leg following a challenge from Jamal Campbell-Ryce. It was later revealed that Laird had broken his left tibia and would miss the remainder of the season. During his recovery, Laird stated that Campbell-Ryce rang him on a weekly basis – "I knew him previously and he's rung me every week to make sure I'm alright. I'm not one to hold grudges anyway and he's been fine. I accept his apology". Laird scored four times in 24 games during his first season with the club.
A year-and-a-half after his sustaining his broken leg, Laird returned to the Preston first-team at the start of the 2013–14 season, making his first appearance back when he appeared as a 74th-minute substitute in a 0–0 draw away at Rotherham United on 10 August 2013. He scored his solitary goal of the campaign against his former employers, Stevenage, netting Preston's second goal in a 3–0 win at Deepdale on 14 September 2013. Laird signed a twelve-month contract extension on 17 December 2013, keeping him contracted to the club until the summer of 2015. He made 42 appearances during the season, scoring once, as Preston missed out on promotion back to the Championship after losing in the play-off semi-finals to Rotherham United.
Laird remained at Preston for the 2014–15 campaign and was once again a regular at left-back during the season. He scored his first goal of the season in a 2–2 draw with Oldham Athletic in the Football League Trophy on 25 November 2014, courtesy of a diving header from ten yards out to open the scoring. Laird scored in Preston's 3–1 home loss to Manchester United in the FA Cup on 16 February 2015, briefly giving Preston the lead when his left-footed shot found the net just after half-time. He played in all three of the club's play-off matches at the end of the season, including in Preston's 4–0 win over Swindon Town in the final at Wembley Stadium to gain promotion back to the Championship after a four-year absence. At the end of the season, Laird rejected the offer a new contract at Preston, stating – "maybe I felt I would be pushed down the pecking order, maybe I felt I wouldn't have played as often. "There are no hard feelings, the management team have been brilliant to work with". Laird made 108 appearances during his three-year spell at Preston, scoring seven times.
Laird subsequently signed for League One side Scunthorpe United on 11 June 2015, joining on a free transfer and on a three-year deal. He made his Scunthorpe debut on the opening day of the 2015–16 season, playing the whole match in a 2–1 defeat away to Burton Albion. Laird scored his first goal for Scunthorpe in a 2–1 victory over Shrewsbury Town on 17 October 2015, his header just before the hour mark restoring parity in the match after Scunthorpe had trailed in the first-half. Three days later, on 20 October 2015, he met Scott Wiseman's cross with "a powerful left-footed shot" to give Scunthorpe the lead in an eventual 2–1 defeat to Gillingham. He made 38 appearances in all competitions that season, scoring twice, as Scunthorpe narrowly missed out on the League One play-offs after finishing in seventh position.
Laird did not feature in the majority of Scunthorpe's matches at the start of the 2016–17 season, a five-minute cameo appearance in a 5–0 home win over Gillingham served as his only appearance in the opening month of the campaign. Having found himself out of favour at Scunthorpe, Laird joined fellow League One side Walsall on loan on 31 August 2016, with the loan deal initially running until January 2017. He made his Walsall debut in a 2–0 away defeat to Northampton Town on 10 September 2016. Laird scored his first goal for Walsall in a 2–1 away victory over Sheffield United in an EFL Trophy tie on 4 October 2016. He also scored in the club's 1–1 draw with Milton Keynes Dons on 12 November 2016 to give Walsall the lead in the match. Laird scored the only goal of the game in a 1–0 victory over Port Vale at Vale Park on 26 December 2016, "coolly slotting home" midway through the first half to give Walsall all three points. His loan deal was extended upon its expiry in January 2017, the new deal running until the end of the season, with Laird stating he was "absolutely delighted" with signing the extension. He added a fourth goal to his season's tally when he scored the winning goal in Walsall's 1–0 victory over Chesterfield at the Bescot Stadium on 7 March 2017. He made 31 appearances during the loan spell, scoring four goals. Upon his return to Scunthorpe at the end of the season, Laird's contract was terminated by mutual consent in June 2017.
After leaving Scunthorpe United, Laird signed for newly-promoted League Two side Forest Green Rovers on 20 June 2017, joining on a two-year contract. He made his Forest Green debut at the start of the 2017–18 season, in the club's first ever Football League fixture, a 2–2 home draw with Barnet. Laird scored his first goal for Forest Green in a 2–0 win over Morecambe on 20 October 2017, doubling Forest Green's lead courtesy of a second-half free-kick. He made 43 appearances in all competitions during the club's first season in League Two, scoring three times.
Having made just one appearance for Forest Green during the first half of the 2018–19 season, Laird rejoined League One club Walsall on loan on 17 January 2019. He made his second debut two days later as an 80th-minute substitute in a 3–0 away victory at Gillingham. Laird made seven appearances during the loan spell. He was released by Forest Green Rovers at the end of the 2018–19 season.
Despite being born in England, Laird represented Scotland at youth level, captaining the Scotland U16 team all the way up to U20's level. He played in all three of Scotland's games in the Victory Shield in 2003, scoring twice, with Scotland finishing as joint winners of the tournament alongside England.
Laird was born in Taunton, Somerset, and grew up in Bridgwater. He supported Rangers as a boy, and states that Brian Laudrup was a player he always aspired to play like. Laird also supports Ipswich Town. He says that Guti is the best player he has ever played against. Laird's grandmother gives him a one pound coin every time he scores a goal, something that she has done ever since he started playing football.
Laird's father, Craig, is a football manager, having previously managed Bridgwater Town, Weston-super-Mare and Dorchester Town. Laird has three brothers, Craig, Jamie and Callum. Craig played soccer at the University of Tampa and also represented England at schoolboy level, whilst both Jamie and Callum have played semi-professional football.
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other[B]||Total|
|Tiverton Town||SFL Premier Division||18||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||20||4|
|Torquay United||2007–08||Conference Premier||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Preston North End||2012–13||League One||19||4||1||0||3||0||1[b]||0||24||4|
|Scunthorpe United||2015–16||League One||32||2||4||0||1||0||1[b]||0||38||2|
|Walsall (loan)||2016–17||League One||29||3||1||0||0||0||2[e]||1||32||4|
|Forest Green Rovers||2017–18||League Two||35||2||3||1||1||0||4[e]||0||43||3|
|Walsall (loan)||2018–19||League One||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||7||0|
Preston North End