Jamie McGrath believes he can shine this season as St Mirren ’s playmaker.
The former Dundalk star made a name for himself in his native Ireland pulling the strings in the Lilywhites midfield.
The 23-year-old joined the Buddies in January and went on to impress from the wings and through the middle as he looked to make an instant impression on Scottish football.
Last Saturday he found himself in his favoured playmaker position and made his mark, picking out a deadly cross for Richard Tait to head home a wonderful winner against Livingston.
Now he’s looking to make an even bigger name for himself by repeating the feat against Rangers tomorrow afternoon.
Speaking exclusively to Express Sport, he said: “After so long out of the game it couldn’t have gone any better against Livingston.
“All we wanted before kick-off was three points and we managed that. We deserved it in my opinion on the balance of play.
“We knew getting off to a winning start was really important because we were handed such a tough opening few games, with both Old Firm sides still to come.
“I didn’t play through the middle in the playmaker role that much last season. I do enjoy that role and I’m definitely more used to it from my time in Ireland.
“I don’t mind where I play as, like a lot of our players, I’m pretty versatile.
“But I was happy to make an impact with the assist for Tait. Hopefully I can do the same again over the next few games.”
McGrath was set to make his debut at Ibrox in January, only to see his first appearance for his new club postponed due to a niggling injury.
After an extremely long pre-season, the creative talent insists he’s fitter than ever for the campaign ahead.
McGrath said: “Rangers should have been my debut last season but unfortunately I pulled up with a knock in the run up to the game.
“I was really gutted but I was there in the stands and the atmosphere was incredible.
“It’s going to be great to finally get to play there, even though the stands will obviously be empty this time around.
“The history of the place is still there and the pitch will be incredible to play on, I’m sure.
“It’ll be strange without the fans, it certainly was on Saturday at our place. But once the game kicks off you just don’t think about anything else.
“All you think about is getting three points and doing the best you can for the club.
“I’ve picked up injuries a few times in pre-seasons and it’s really frustrating because you feel like you’re always catching up.
“I’m fitter than ever now though and I just want to play every game I can.”
After months at home in Ireland over lockdown, McGrath is pleased to be back amongst his new teammates after settling into life in Paisley at the start of the year.
And he hopes the Saints can help derail both Rangers and Celtic’s quest for the title over the next five days, with Celtic set to visit St Mirren Park next Wednesday night.
McGrath added: “It was a shame when lockdown hit because I was finally settling down in Paisley.
“We originally thought we’d only be off for one or two weeks, but it obviously ended up being months instead!
“It’s great to be back though with all the lads and I feel more like part of the team now. A lot of boys have left and new ones have come in but I feel like I’ve bedded into the squad now.
“There’s a lot of chat around Celtic and Rangers and ten in a row this year. They’ll be neck and neck for the title I’m sure but we don’t really care about that.”
“Hopefully we can take points from them both over the course of the season.”