JOE McKee is banking on a change of luck with Falkirk after seeing his hopes of making it in England dashed with three different clubs.
The 24-year-old joined the Bairns for the rest of the season on transfer deadline day and made an impressive debut in last weekend’s derby victory over Dunfermline.
The former Scotland under-19 internationalist opted to move north again after being frustrated by a lack of first-team opportunities at Carlisle United following his switch there from Morton last summer.
And it was a familiar feeling for the midfielder after he twice signed for Owen Coyle south of the border – only to see the ex-Falkirk hero leave within months.
McKee said: “I went down to Burnley to sign for Owen at the age of 16 and within the first six months I had trained with the first-team quite a few times, which was quite unusual for a young boy.
“I was playing for the under-21s quite regularly and scoring and doing well against the likes of Man City and Liverpool and teams like that.
“Then, when the gaffer left and went to Bolton, the new manager was Brian Laws and he never spoke to me for 18 months.
“I felt as if I was ready to go and play and go a wee bit further, because I had been involved in the first-team at Livingston before I went down, but I ended up just playing with the youth team.
“Then I got an offer to go to Bolton and I felt that was the best option.
“But when I went there Owen was sacked within three or four months and when Dougie Freedman came in I was part of the under-21s team and that was pretty much me.
“It went from going there and it being a good opportunity to pretty much being told you were away within a few months.
“I got to a point where I was 19 or 20 and I hadn’t played any games.
“It was just unfortunate, it’s just the way football pans out sometimes. But I’m happy to be here and enjoying it.”
Falkirk will seek to close the gap on the teams above them and leapfrog back over Morton into third in the Championship when they take on Dundee United in their rearranged league match on Saturday afternoon.
And, despite his frustrations south of the border, McKee will run out full of confidence after a recent pep talk from Coyle.
He added: “I didn’t speak to him about coming to Falkirk but I saw Owen at a under-23s game earlier in the season and he asked me how things were going.
“I told him where I was at, and he told me what he thought of me as a player and gave me that wee bit extra confidence.
“It’s difficult when you’re not playing but he just reassured me, which was nice to hear from someone like him.”