McGlinchey swaps hoops for his new stripes

Former Celtic and Scotland Under 20’s midfielder Michael McGlinchey has added yet another piece to the Mariners jigsaw ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season, by agreeing to terms with the yellow and navy for the next two seasons.

Former Celtic and Scotland Under 20-s midfielder Michael McGlinchey has added yet another piece to the Mariners jigsaw ahead of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season, by agreeing to terms with the yellow and navy for the next two seasons.

"Michael has been extremely impressive during the two weeks he-s been at the club, both on and off the field, and from what we have seen of him so far, we are confident he will fit very well into the Mariners plans," said Mariners Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman.

"He has played at the highest level in Scotland, with that nation-s biggest club, and while he has plenty of experience, he is still only 22, so he has a bright future ahead of him.

"Michael-s New Zealand roots also mean while he counts as an overseas player, he isn-t subject to visa requirements we may have had to meet if he had been a Scottish national. He-s excited about being here, as are we to have him here," said Gorman.

The diminutive midfield general made his first team debut at Parkhead as an 18 year old after rejecting a move to Manchester United to remain at the Scottish Premier League giants, and went on to represent his adopted country at the Under 20-s World Cup.

The Wellington-born 22 year old has been trialing with the Mariners for the past two weeks, and after impressing in draws against Gold Coast United and Wellington Phoenix, has joined the charge for season five.

"It-s a great relief, I came over originally on a two week trial, and it-s hard when you know you only have two weeks to try to impress somebody, because every training session might be the end of it. I-m just glad it-s all over, and I can concentrate on being a Mariner," said McGlinchey.

"Obviously, I-m a Celtic person, as is my family, but there is life after Celtic, and I-m glad I-ve managed to find myself in this beautiful stadium, and beautiful place, so I-m really looking forward to it.

"All the boys have been great. It only took two days for me to find my feet, and when they are doing so much for you, it really helps you kick on.

"(Lawrie McKinna) took me up the first day I got here and made me feel special. He took me to his house and made me dinner. He phoned me up after we got back from Dubbo and did the same thing. He-s a really nice guy.

"I-ve been surprised by the standard actually, it-s really fast. I played against the Gold Coast up there, they had a few good players and it was a good test for us. We probably should have won that game. The Wellington game was good as well, we-ve had a couple of draws and are undefeated, so hopefully we can carry it on," McGlinchey said.

His New Zealand heritage comes courtesy of his father, who spent a brief spell with Lower Hutt in the New Zealand national competition in the late 1980-s, before McGlinchey returned to Scotland as a toddler, and begun his football career.

A groin injury cut short what had been an impressive loan spell at Dunfermline, but he-s now ready to add to the Mariners dynamic.

"He-s looked very good in the two trials he-s played in, he can read a game well and looks very solid in midfield. He-s only wee but he digs in and has a go," said Mariners Football Manager Lawrie McKinna.

"He-s come from Celtic where he-s played under the likes of Gordon Strachan and Martin O-Neill, so he knows what big time football is all about, and so far he has fitted in well with all of the boys.

"I have always said I-m only going to bring the right players in, who I think will add to the squad, and Michael certainly fits that bill," said McKinna.

McGlinchey is likely to be part of Lawrie McKinna-s squad for the opening match of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season, next Thursday, 6 August against Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium. Kick-off is at 8pm.

The Mariners first home match of the Hyundai A-League season is against local rival Newcastle Jets on Friday, August 14. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

Mariners Memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by clicking here or by phoning 1300 767 442.