Game for Boxing DayTuesday, 25th Dec 2007
On loan Celt, Michael will be ready for Greenock reunion
Previously Boxing Day has had great significance for Michael McGlinchey and he is hoping that 2007's will be equally so. As a 17 year old he made his Celtic debut on the day after Christmas, coming on for Aiden McGeady in 73rd minute of the SPL match against Livingston. His side were being held 1-1 but after his introduction Shunsuki Nakamura provided the winner and it was a happy ending in front of a crowd of 57,000.
This year he will have watched his Christmas Day intake after training with the Pars so that he can be ready to play at Cappielow. Things will be very different from that first stage but he is expecting to be up against some familiar faces.
On Boxing Day 2005 he was alongside Stillian Petrov, Neil Lennon, John Hartson and Shaun Maloney but in the 2007 fixture he will be up against a few of his former Celtic team mates. Manager Jim McNally used to be his manager at under 16 level at Celtic and 21 year old Michael Gardyne and 24 year old Chris (Midge) Millar both were at Celtic with him, although Millar has now been told he will never play again for Morton after signing a pre contract with St Johnstone. Michael will be disappointed for he had said:-
"Midge plays out on the wing so I hope to play up against him and have a bit of a battle."
The Celtic player who is on loan to Dunfermline until 21st January was quick to turn the focus on to his current club and to point out that the Pars are undefeated under Jim McIntyre:-
"We should have won at Partick last week had we scored from the penalty. There's certainly something to build on there and hopefully we can keep it going.
"Jim McIntyre has been brilliant, his training is fantastic - all stuff that the boys want to do, short sharp and competitive. It has been really good."
Michael feels that he was not at Dunfermline long enough under Stephen Kenny to be able to make comparisons but praised the caretaker manager's banter at training:-
"When I am at Celtic I am with the reserves and we do running every single day. We do some running but I wouldn't say that we are not fit. Because of results people are nit picking at things, we are a fit bunch."
A run in the team is the 19 year old's prime objective in coming to Fife and get first team appearances. This is not something that he is likely to get at Celtic right now:-
"Reserve team football is not a patch on playing in the first team, I just want to get as much experience as I can before I go back. I don't know if my loan is going to get extended in January until the summer but if things are going really well i am hopeful that happens. I think there is a rule that you cannot play for three teams in the year so I couldn't move on loan again.
"If the gaffer, Strachan, brings any more players in then I know that I am maybe going to be one of those who is not going to play. I am probably better to stay here, learn my trade and that might be the best thing to do."
Michael keeps in contact with Celtic Park through his Reserve team Manager Willie McStay and met up recently in Clydebank with another player who benefited from a Celtic loan to Dunfermline, Jim O'Brien. Jim made 18 first team starts while with the Pars being ever present after joining in January with the exception of the match against Celtic through until the second last league match of the season:-
"He said that he loved it here and when he came back he got in around the first team, getting on the bench. It definitely shows that if you get out and do well - I know he only made one appearance but he did get near."