BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Rhys McCabe insists he has returned to Scotland a more mature player and person after his spell in English football.
The 23-year-old began his career at Rangers but declined to have his contract transferred over following the club’s descent into liquidation in 2012 and instead penned an agreement with Sheffield Wednesday.
The Scotland under-21 cap made 36 appearances for the Owls and also spent a month on loan at Portsmouth last year.
After playing just three times last season, however, it would not have been a surprise that the English Championship side opted to release him in the summer and he subsequently had trial spells with St Johnstone and Hibernian.
And, after joining Dunfermline for the remainder of the season earlier this month, the midfielder insists his stint south of the border was well worthwhile.
He said: “I like to think whether it’s a bad situation or a good situation you can positives from it.
“When you go down and you’re playing every week then football’s great and there’s not much to complain about.
“But when you’re not playing and things aren’t going as well, you’ve got to adapt.
“I had to mature, living down there myself, and I definitely matured as a person as well as a player.
“I took pointers from experienced players and pros, and coaches and different staff, and I went on loan and gained experience at a different club.
“I took it all on board so when I came back up it meant I’ve got all these things behind me and under my belt, and hopefully I can kick on in my career.”
McCabe is just one of a number of players with experience higher up the divisions who have agreed to drop into League One to help Dunfermline’s push for promotion.
The likes of Joe Cardle, Marc McAusland and Mickeal Antoine-Curier played Premiership football last season, whilst others, such as Callum Fordyce, Jason Talbot and Michael Paton, have been plying their trade in the Championship.
And McCabe admits it is the ambition shown by manager Allan Johnston to put together such a talented squad that helped convince him to join the Pars’ promotion push.
He added: “The club’s ambitious and they’re trying to get to where they belong and where I think they rightfully belong.
“We’ve got a great nucleus of players here and they’re always striving to do better. The lads are professional and everybody knows the goal and aim this season is to get promoted, and everybody’s focused on that.
“To come in and be a part of that is great, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.
“I don’t think this club should be in League One. For 90 minutes we gave Dundee United – an established Premiership side – as good as we got last week in the League Cup and I think we were the better side in the first-half.
“To give them such a good tie and take it to extra-time is something the lads and the gaffer and people about the club should be proud of.”