Second part of our interview with new signing Joe McKee
In the second part of our interview with new signing Joe McKee he spoke first about his three enjoyable seasons with Greenock Morton.
“It was a big decision to leave there,” he admitted. “I was offered a contract to stay there and I was at the club for three years. We won promotion to the Championship two years ago and we've just finished fifth in that league with the likes of Rangers and Hibs, who were in the Scottish Cup final the other day.
“Last season was a good season for me. I got on really well with the gaffer up there, as well as the staff and the players. I haven't got a bad word to say about the club. It’s a great place and I obviously wish them all the best. When this opportunity came up it was something I've always wanted to do.”
As for his highlight whilst with Greenock Morton, he said: “The promotion there was a highlight, but in League One in Scotland there isn't a lot of football that gets played.
“I learned a lot about what to do off the ball in terms of working hard and the physical side of the game at that level. That really brought me on, but I would say the real highlight for me has been the season just gone.
“We were 2-1 up at Ibrox, with five minutes to go, and we were playing in front of 45,000 people. It really was unbelievable. Hibs won the Scottish Cup but we went there on a Tuesday night and won 3-0. We played at Celtic Park in the quarter final of the Scottish Cup as well, so I've had some great experiences.”
“It could leave me feeling I've got something to prove now I've came back down here,” he admitted. “I didn't really feel like I got started in terms of first team appearances last time I was here.
“I played a lot of youth and reserve football. I was involved in first team squads at times, but I was always chomping at the bit to try and get first team games. I don't know if you'd call it unfinished business, I'm just looking forward to coming down here and getting a fresh start. I feel in the last couple of years I've really developed and I think I can develop even further with Carlisle United.
“I was with Burnley and Bolton from the age of 16 until I was 20, so I know what it's like to live away from home and things like that. I understand the way things work down here. I was on the fringes at Burnley when I was 19, I was training with the first team every day and it was a similar situation at Bolton.
“Opportunities were limited for different reasons. Things like the changes in manager and the fact that Burnley were in the Premier League with a big squad had an impact. It was difficult for me so being down here is ideal for me.”
“I don't think there's too much difference between the level I've been playing and League Two,” he commented. “What I would say is the facilities are better down here. The pitch is brilliant and I've had to go and play at Celtic Park or Ibrox to play on a pitch like that. Playing on surfaces like that every week is going to be excellent for me.
“One thing I really enjoyed two seasons ago was the promotion and the winning feeling. That's something I want to have here. I don't want to just settle for mid-table so I think we've got to be looking for promotion. I think everybody will be pushing in the right direction to get that and I'll give it everything I've got. I don't want to be sitting here this time next year when we haven't been promoted.”
Speaking about the advice he received from former-United player and his good friend Ben McKenna, he said: “I went down to Burnley when they won the league and I got chance to catch up with Ben. I was at Burnley for three years so I've got quite a lot of mates there.
“Ben was actually at Carlisle while I was at Burnley so we used to play against each other in the youth team. He used to travel back to Burnley so I would see him on weekends and things like that.
“He's a really good mate of mine so I had a chat with him about the club. He said nothing but good things. I also had a coffee with JP McGovern a few weeks ago in Glasgow. I know him from back up the road as well and he said a lot of good things about the club. Everyone I've spoken to has said that this is a good place for me to be.
“I know Mark Gillespie through Ben as well. They were close mates when Ben was here but I haven't seen him for a couple of years. Once I see him we'll have a chat and a bit of banter, but I don't know any of the other boys. Once we've been together for a couple of weeks I'll settle in and everything will be fine.”
“I've had the last three weeks off so I'm back on it now,” he concluded. “I think there are four or five weeks before we're back for pre-season. I'm away on holiday for a couple of weeks but I'll be doing a bit of training while I'm away to get the fitness levels back up.
“Like I say, I just want to get on with it now. It looks like a great place to be and hopefully I’ll do enough to be involved regularly.”
for part one of this interview.
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