“You’ve got to mention my Twitter account in this interview”, said Steven McGarry having emerged from an ice bath in the wake of another sweat-drenched training session at McGillivray Oval.
“You-ve got to mention my Twitter account in this interview”, said Steven McGarry having emerged from an ice bath in the wake of another sweat-drenched training session at McGillivray Oval.
“I-ve got 1900 followers, which is not far off the best in the A-League, so I need to pump those number up to 2000”.
@stevenmcgarry is the account in question and it should come as no surprise that the effervescent Scot has immersed himself so enthusiastically in the social media world.
Fortunately, he has thus far managed to avoid the kind of controversy that has engulfed fellow Tweeters Joey Barton of Queens Park Rangers, Bradley Johnson of Leeds and Anthony Golec of Adelaide United to name but a few.
“I just enjoy the banter on there”, he said with a chuckle.
“The fun police did contact me once and told me to watch what I was saying, but the boys are pretty good and we just use it to have a bit of banter with each other and the fans”.
Yet the man who shares the mantle of the club-s chief mischief-maker with Billy Mehmet did not have too much to smile about earlier in the season.
He spent ten of the first twelve games either on the bench or out of the squad altogether and admits he found life on the sidelines very difficult.
“The manager brought in a load of new players in the off-season”, he said, “and I always knew in the back of my mind it was going to be tough to get into the side.
But I thought if I got my head down and worked hard I-d be ok.
I started the pre-season pretty well”, he continued, “and the manager took me to one side and said I-d been excellent, so I thought I was in with a chance of starting at the beginning of the season.
But as it turned out, I-ve had to bide my time to get my opportunity.
When the results started going against us I kept thinking that I-d get my chance”, he went on, “but it kept dragging on and that was tough.
Eventually though, the manager flung me in against Newcastle playing behind big Billy (Mehmet) in that number ten role, I-ve kept my place since then and I-m loving it”.
Some eyebrows were raised when McGarry was thrust into the more advanced, creative role, but it is a position he knows extremely well having played there extensively before coming to Australia.
“I first started out at St Mirren as a striker”, he explained, “and then when I went to Ross County I gradually became more of an attacking midfielder and at Motherwell I played there as well, so I-m well used to the position.
I think many of the Glory fans think I-m more of a defensive midfielder”, he went on, “because when I first came here we were playing 4-4-2 and I slotted in alongside Jacob Burns. The wide players we had then played really high up the pitch, so I had more of a box-to-box, combative kind of a role and people built up the perception that I was a defensive midfielder based on that”.
Little wonder then that McGarry has produced some his best performances in Glory colours over the last few weeks and it-s hard to begrudge the hugely likeable man from Paisley his change in fortune.
“I-ve loved the last few weeks”, he admitted.
“I think you-ll get the most out of me playing me just off the striker in that number ten role.
I love to score goals”, he continued, “and I know I haven-t scored many, but it was a great feeling to get one against Central Coast and then another against Heart.
The boys were winding me up saying I was the top scorer in training but couldn-t score in games, so it-s taken the pressure off me a bit now!
I-m getting chances now”, he went on, “I-m getting in goalscoring positions and hopefully I can knock in a few more between now and the end of the season”.
Indeed the end of the season is a subject that McGarry has given plenty of thought to recently as his current contract will expire as and when the curtain falls on Glory-s campaign.
“We-re now reaching a crossroads”, he said, “because my contract is up and it all depends on how the rest of the season goes whether I-m going to be here for another year or two, or having to go somewhere else.
I-d love to stay”, he admitted, “and even though it-s been a very up and down couple of years, I-ve really enjoyed it.
When I first arrived I was involved in helping the team get to the finals for the first time and I thought this is what it-s going to be like all the time.
But last season of course, everyone just wants to forget about because it was so disappointing.
Then this season we-ve had highs and lows again, so it-s certainly not been dull!”.
McGarry-s desire to extend his stay here in the west has been given even greater impetus by the arrival of he and wife Kathryn-s first child, Nicole.
And the proud dad is very aware of his new responsibilities.
“Fatherhood hasn-t changed me as a person”, he claimed, “but it-s definitely changed how I look at things.
I need to provide for my family now, so I need to do everything I can do to get another contract and look after them.
My wife loves it here”, he continued, “my little one was born here, so I want to stay and I-m looking at things a little bit differently in that way”.
Now 32 and aware that the clock is ticking on his playing days, Glory-s number 14 has already set about actively planning for his future.
“Before I came out here I did my UEFA B-Licence and I-ll hopefully get my A- Licence at some point soon”, he revealed, “but it-s hard because they don-t do any of the courses here in the west.
You have to go over east and time-wise that makes it difficult.
I-ve started my Youth Licence as well”, he went on, “and I-d definitely like to stay involved in the game whether that-s in management, the youth side of things or whatever”.
A new playing contract would of course enable McGarry to park his coaching ambitions for a while longer and he is keenly aware that helping steer the club to the finals for a second time would do the chances of that offer eventuating no harm whatsoever.
“I think we-re looking a lot more positive”, he said, “and if we can keep improving, we can make the six.
We-re winning the ball back higher up the pitch and we-re causing other sides problems”, he continued, “and we need to keep going with that.
I think we-re potentially a good team, but we haven-t proved that yet.
We-ve still got to prove that to ourselves and everyone else”.
There-s no mistaking McGarry-s fierce determination to play his part in driving the club to success, but he still manages to add a refreshing dash of humour to proceedings every now and then.
Take the celebrations that followed Glory-s last-gasp winner at Wellington in Week 14.
McGarry denied any involvement, but goalscorer Josh Mitchell insisted that his team-mate was the architect of what ensued when he grabbed hold of one of the Westpac Stadium corner flags.
“I didn-t know whether it was a golf shot or a cricket shot”, laughed McGarry.
“Josh-s technique was terrible, but I thought I-d better lift up the flag so he could sink the putt. We definitely need to come up with better celebrations than that!
And did I mention my Twitter account?”, he added, still chuckling.