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Paul McKane interview

3rd January 2012

What has Scottish football been like compared to Northern Ireland?

It’s definitely a step up, maybe even two or three steps up.  The top two or three sides in Ireland would hold their own in our league but I’d say seven out of the other ten would probably struggle.  It’s taken some getting used to: the speed is faster and it’s a lot more technical.  There are obviously better players too.

How did your move to Airdrie come about?

My former team Cliftonville had a friendly against Stirling Albion, and then I went up and trained with them and didn’t really like Jocky Scott’s style.  My mate put it on a forum and then Airdrie got back to me and I went in for a few training sessions and matches.

You only had a one month deal originally...

Only because Jimmy hadn’t seen enough of me, and the season was about to start.  Plus, it gave me the option as well if I didn’t like it then I could still go somewhere else.

So did that put more pressure on you to perform well and earn a longer deal?

Yeah that’s what the whole idea was; give me a month to prove myself.  It was tough and there was a lot of pressure in that month to do well.

You must have been worried when your first game finished 5-0 to Livingston?!

It was a bit embarrassing!  Everyone knew Livingston were a good team.  They’ve had two promotions in two years and I think they’ll get promoted again this year if they get a bit a form again.  That’s the difference between part-time and full-time, isn’t it?  I think I did alright, because I had five clean sheets in the whole of last season and I think I had four clean sheets in the first eight weeks this time round.

Did you play in many local derbies in Ireland?

I made my debut in a derby: in 2004 for Cliftonville against Crusaders and it was fiery as well but we won 1-0.  I haven’t played in the big one which would be Cliftonville against Linfield.  Also played in a couple of derbies in the first division in Ireland when I was with Carrick Rangers.  I think it’s a shame all over the U.K. that Boxing Day was normally the day local derbies are played so that people don’t have to travel too far, but it doesn’t really happen now.

Interview by Douglas Barrie.

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