BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Kevin McCann has urged more Scottish players to broaden their horizons by moving abroad after returning from a successful stint in Singapore to join Falkirk.
The experienced 28-year-old was a firm fans’ favourite with Warriors FC, helping the S-League outfit to a title win and a Charity Shield triumph during his two years in the Far East.
As well as lifting two trophies – adding to the Scottish League Cup he won with Hibernian in 2007 – McCann is adamant his Asian adventure helped him grow on AND off the field as he lapped up the differences in culture and football.
It is an experience he intends to use for the remainder of his playing days and when he ultimately embarks on a career in coaching – and he has no doubt more of his compatriots would benefit from stepping out of their comfort zones.
McCann, who yesterday penned a deal with the Bairns until he end of the season, said: “It was a great experience, from a football point of view and culturally.
“I’m really glad I did it, not many Scottish players go abroad and it’s something that was really valuable. To enjoy a bit of success, winning two trophies, was very special.
“I would definitely encourage players to try it. Plenty of people have asked me about the experience and I’ve always told them it was great and something they should try.
“Going abroad makes you think about the game more and helps you to grow. You are in the minority and you are mixing with different cultures, races and players with different ideas about football.
“I was very friendly with a lot of the players and they invited me to their houses for Ramadan and Chinese New Year and things like that. These are things I would never have experienced otherwise.
“The boys had a big dinner for me before I was leaving, which was really humbling, and its nice to think I went over there and made a good impression.
“Later on I would like to get into coaching and I think that experience of how people mix with each other will be invaluable.”
Having joined Falkirk ahead of tomorrow’s mouth-watering Championship fixture against Rangers, McCann can at least count on being understood in the Bairns dressing room.
He smiled: “Straight away, no-one could understand a word I said in Singapore, they used to hammer me for it. But I think that endeared me a little bit to them.
“They would always try to speak Scottish – the only think they knew was ‘Braveheart’ – and put on a dodgy accent.
“I remember the first game over there, I tried to say something to gee up the boys and it was only a couple of months later they told me ‘we’ve got no idea what you said!'”
McCann, who was training with Queen of the South earlier this month, earned a contract with the high-flying Bairns following a trial period with Peter Houston’s men.
And the former Hibs and Livingston defender cannot wait to soak up the Ibrox bear-pit after confessing he missed the raucous atmosphere of the game in Scotland during his time with the Warriors.
He added: “Anyone from Scotland would miss that passion straight away, people live and breath football in Scotland.
“If you miss a chance everyone goes crazy, but over there you don’t quite have that intensity. Teams didn’t really have a team – they would support ‘football’. It was more like entertainment.
“Rangers would be a massive game to be involved in, and I’m sure there will be plenty of passion in that one! Atmospheres like you get at Ibrox are what you miss.”
Meanwhile, injury-plagued Kieran Duffie has left Falkirk by mutual consent after failing to make a single appearance this season.
However, the former Scotland under-21 international, who made a total of 167 appearances, will continue to train with the Championship outfit as he searches for a new club, Houston has confirmed.