Gabby going for goalThursday, 23rd Jan 2020
“It is just about getting it right on the day which unfortunately we haven’t done in recent weeks. We are confident about Friday.”
Nineteen year old Gabby McGill signed for Dunfermline at the end of May last year. He was handed the number nine shirt and with a reputation for having scored sixteen goals in nineteen matches in his last season in the Middlesbrough Football Academy fans might have expected to have seen him play a bigger role in the first team by now.
After 11 appearances including just two starts against Alloa Athletic and Partick Thistle, Gabby was given just his second league start at Cappielow two weeks ago. The 3-2 defeat spoiled the Englishman’s day:-
“I had mixed emotions after the game but I was really happy to get my second start in the league. We were disappointed not to take the three points and not come away with anything after going there and scoring two goals.
“I have had to bide my time, it was about taking my chance when it came. I’d like to think that I played alright with Nizzy up top. We tried to stretch them, I nearly scored but luckily we got the goal off it anyway. That was good but I would have given a lot for that to go in.
“As a team we played really well for the first thirty minutes. After they scored they seemed to come at us a little bit more. It was disappointing how we reacted to that.”
Dunfermline have lost their last five matches and Gabby feels that they only have themselves to blame:-
“We know that it hasn’t been good enough. We go into every game confident because we have good quality in the side - enough to beat any team in the league. It is just about getting it right on the day which unfortunately we haven’t done in recent weeks. We are confident about Friday.”
Gabby claimed that the squad are still upbeat in the dressing room.
“We are looking up, it is a really tight league and the play offs really aren’t too far away. I can’t see us being too far off.”
The team’s successes this far have hinged on Kevin Nisbet finding the net. He has scored 21 goals in 28 appearances and Gabby is keen to assist by forming a partnership with the club’s number one hitman:-
“I would like to think I could. Ultimately it is up to the gaffer but we do work quite well. For example for our first goal the ball came up and there was a great lay off from Nizzy. I let the ball run across my body and took a shot. There is link up there and a relationship there. Obviously there are other boys fighting for a place as well. It is just about keeping the jersey at the moment.
“With the results not going the way we want, in yourself you are always confident that you can come in and help the team out. That is what I am going to try and do. It is just about taking that chance and helping the team turn this bad run around.”
Striker Andy Ryan has been allowed to go out on loan to Airdrieonians and although that definitely frees up a spot Gabby feels that there are still plenty others fighting for starting places:-
“Players like Lewis McCann and we have also got players who can play in different positions. I know Ryan Dow is played on the wing but he could come into the middle and we saw in the latter part of the game against Morton how Dom Thomas played up along side Nizzy. There are still a lot of boys fighting for places which is good and healthy.”
Moving to Scotland has been a positive move in his development feels Gabby and after dealing with the domestics, the physical side of his game has also taken a boost.
“It is the first time that I have lived away from home by myself but I think I have adjusted quite well. The boys in the flat have helped me out massively and it is all about getting us all through it.”
Despite a staple diet of chicken and pasta limited by their cookery skills, Gabby describes sharing a flat with teammates Matty Bowman and Ethan Ross as good fun and he has not yet felt the need to make a trip home to Yorkshire.
“I don’t mind that. Coming up here you know what you have signed up for. You know the job that you have to do, that can mean coming in on Sunday if you don’t have a game, early starts and things like that. I like it.”
Gabby rates the biggest challenge in Scottish football to be the physicality of it.
“It is my first go at proper men’s football. There are so many positives to it and that’s why I’m loving life.
“I know I have had to wait for my chance but even being on the bench, coming on to play in front of fans - you are not coming on to play in front of your mum and dad and the dog.
“The physicality of it, the intensity and the different way of playing. Obviously in academy football it is all side to side, sort of we’ll let you have the ball for a bit, you let us have the ball.
“In this league it is a lot more physical and people get after you more. It is just about learning and getting better, I wouldn’t say it is a negative just about getting better at it.
“I think some work in the gym needs to be done. That physicality would help my game and the way I play. Something that could also be positive is the fitness. I’d like to think that I am quite fit and towards the latter part of the game can run defenders ragged. It is just about taking that opportunity.”
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