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Interviews

INTERVIEW: We want to build on what happened last year

Dylan McGeouch on his new challenge

10 July 2023

Interviews

INTERVIEW: We want to build on what happened last year

Dylan McGeouch on his new challenge

10 July 2023

Midfielder Dylan McGeouch became summer signing number five last Friday and he immediately spoke about looking forward to the challenge of pushing on with the club from such a positive starting point.

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But first we talked to him about the move back up north to join the Cumbrians on a two-year deal.

“It’s been pretty quick,” he revealed. “I knew the interest was there a day or two ago and I got myself up here this morning and got it done, and I’m delighted to be here.

“Summer is tough, to be fair, when you aren’t involved but you know a lot of the teams are back in training. You don’t want to miss out too much and end up playing catch-up.

“I’ve been keeping myself ticking over the last few weeks and I’m just really pleased that we’ve got it finalised quiet early so that I can get in with the boys, get a few games before the season starts and hopefully hit the ground running.”

And he confirmed that joining a club that’s on a high after promotion was a factor in his decision making process.

“It was huge, to be fair,” he told us. “It’s just that snowball effect of the club coming up and there’s a buzz about the place.

“It’s a team that’s just come up and you can tell that they’re going to be a good side. Hopefully I can add to that.

“When I spoke to the manager a key point was that he wants me to help and build on what happened last year. It’s about keeping that feel-good factor about the place.

“He talked about the experience I have and me bringing that into the group, and it’s all about helping the team and club to succeed.

“I’d like to think that I’m somebody who can bring a bit of that experience into the dressing room. I’ve been at some good clubs and I’ve seen a lot of different things with them.

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“Hopefully, if I can help, then that’ll be great. Mostly it’s about what I do out on the pitch. I had a good few months at Forest Green last season and hopefully I can build on that and bring it here.”

As for the type of player we can expect to see, he said: “I like to get on the ball and make things happen.

“I like to think I’m a creative type of midfielder who can take it and pass it, but I like to get stuck in as well, whenever that’s needed.

“Hopefully I’ll be showing people those things soon when I get out there, and then we can all push on together and achieve good things this season.

“I know League One quite well because of Forest, and when I was with Sunderland a few years ago. I know what this league is all about and coming off the back of the last six months I kind of know what to expect.

“It was really tough going through the relegation. When I went there they were in a difficult situation and we did what we could to try to give ourselves a chance. Ultimately we went down and that was hard to take.

“Nobody wants to be part of something like that. On a personal level I think I did well in the games I played and I ended up as the captain. It’s disappointing that eventually we went down but for me it’s about kicking on from where I left off performance wise.”

“It was nice to get the supporters’ player of the year award, it’s good to get recognition from the fans, and I felt through the six months that my performances were good.,” he continued.

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“The fans down there responded well to what I was trying to do but it wasn’t nice with the way it ended up for the team. I only got there just before Christmas so to get the award was good and, as I say, hopefully I’ll kick on from that here.”

With him having worn the captain’s armband it’s perhaps an indication of a player who takes to leading others out on the pitch naturally.

“Duncan Ferguson came in and he gave me the armband straight away,” he said. “I enjoyed having it. I felt I took on the role well and I’d like to think that my team mates enjoyed the time of me being their captain as well.

“It was good to have that responsibility on and off the pitch.”

Looking back at his career, his introduction to the game was a battle between Walter Smith and Neil Lennon, on behalf of Rangers and Celtic, as to who would secure his services.

“It seems like a long time ago now but when I was younger both clubs wanted to sign me, which was fantastic,” he confirmed.

“It was a mad time really. I enjoyed it, they’re both really big clubs, and again it gave me more valuable experiences.

“I’ve played in Scotland and down south with big clubs and it’s helped me to have a good career. I feel like I’ve still got a lot more to offer in the next few years as well.

“I think playing for a club like Celtic at the start of it gave me a really good foundation. They’re relentless in their pursuit of winning everything, and trying to win every game.

“They never go into any of them hoping for a draw, or thinking that will do, every week it was constant pressure on having to win every game.

“That’s stood me in good stead because I had the same mentality wherever I went. When I went to Hibs, Neil Lennon was there as well, as the manager, and it was the same mentality.

“It went right through the club that we wanted to win, and that nothing else was acceptable or good enough.

“I think if we all pull that way here we’ll come out on top more times than others. Hopefully we can build that on top of last year’s promotion and as a team we’ll go into every game knowing we can win it.”

A Scottish cup victory over Rangers whilst at Hibs, who were a Championship outfit at the time, was an example of that do or die mentality.

“Thinking back to 2016, which is when we did that, it was great times,” he commented. “We had a lot of young lads who were making their way in their careers so to go and lift the cup was amazing.

“It made us realise what it all means to the Hibs fans and still to this day, when you meet them, they talk about it as one of the best things that’s ever happened through all their time watching.

“It was great, and obviously winning things as a player is what you play for. The boys here know that from getting promotion last year and that means they’ve got a feel for achieving things.

“Hopefully we can kick on this year and have a good season again.”

And it’s the immediate future with the Blues that is now his main focus.

“I think you go into every club, every day, in fact, and you still have something to prove,” he said. “You can’t rest on what you’ve done previously or in years before.

“You’ve got to hit the ground running and from your performances you hope the fans can buy into it and into you as a player. That’s on and off the pitch.

“I feel I did that with Forest last season, the fans really took to me, and I want to do the same here. I know there are no guarantees, there’s competition for places, but that’s healthy.

“We’re going into League One, the manager is adding more players, and that keeps the lads who were here on their toes as well.

“They have to fight for their place, as do us new boys who are coming in, because we all want to play. It’s good to have that level of competition in all areas.

“I just want to get the boots on and meet the lads now. I have been doing my own thing but now that I’m here I want to get straight into it and get playing a few games as well.

“It’s a new challenge that I’m really looking forward to. I’m really excited, it’s a new set of lads and I just want to be part of that snowball effect of keeping the good feeling that’s around the club going.”


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