Tuesday, 2 January 2018

I DID IT MY SHAY. thumbnail SHAY McCartan celebrates scoring with his Bradford City team mates. Picture courtesy of

SHAY McCartan marked his return to the starting line-up for Bradford City for the first time in four months with a goal in front of his mum and dad.

He repaid Stuart McCall's faith in the 23-year-old forward with an impressive drive from 25 yards out to help the Bantams to victory against Oxford United.

The Northern Ireland international, from Glenn, was pleased his parents were there to see him score, particularly as he didn't think he would be starting the game.

He told BBC Radio Leeds: "I'm delighted to get a start. The last one was against Walsall in August or September.

"I've been with Northern Ireland and I've had a few injuries so I've been a bit out in the cold but I've worked hard in training. Every day I've tried to make myself better and hopefully it's showed there.

"I wasn't expecting to start the game - I thought I was going to start on [on New Year's Day] against Fleetwood Town.

"It was a surprise but thankfully I've done well, I scored a goal and I think I played well.

"It was special, moreso because my mum and dad were there so it was good for them to see it. They know I've been going through a tough time so I was delighted for them as well." McCartan revealed that he had lost certainty in himself after being out of the side for so long, but that he had worked hard to get back into the team.

"I had no confidence. I've gone through that before and the only person who can get you out of that is yourself," he added.

"You've just got to keep on going every day, trying to improve yourself and working hard. I've learned now that you can't feel sorry for yourself, you've just got to keep going. I've tried to stay as positive as I can and thankfully it's paid off.

"The coaches and the gaffer have stood by me but the only person who can get you out of it is yourself.

I've worked hard - some players might have sacked it off but I didn't.

"I looked sharp, fitness wasn't an issue - towards the end I was feeling a little tired but I still felt in good nick.

"Football's a strange game. One minute you're out in the cold and the next something like that happens." His manager, former Rangers midfielder McCall, said he was pleased that McCartan had found the net.

"We had a few lads playing their first game in a while, likes of Tim Dieng and Shay McCartan, so there was a bit of fatigue around at the end," he said.

"I was delighted for those two (Tim and Shay) to come in and get their goals - there was some big performances across the team." McCartan joined the Bantams from Accrington Stanley for an undisclosed six-figure fee in late June.

The forward arrived at the Northern Commercials Stadium, more commonly known as Valley Parade on a three-year deal.

The hugely talented young forward made his full international debut for Northern Ireland earlier this season, featuring in a 1-0 win against New Zealand.

With Glenavon as a youngster, Shay moved across the water to join Burnley's academy and he made a solitary appearance for the Clarets before joining Accrington Stanley in 2013 shortly after a loan stint at Hyde.

Shay has become somewhat of a free-kick and set-piece specialist in the past few seasons, scoring a number of spectacular goals from dead-ball situations, as well as a key provider from corners and free-kicks.


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