Hibs striker Chris Dagnall admits today’s trip to Raith Rovers is a far cry from the fantasy football of India where he rubbed shoulders with World Cup winners and played before 70,000 fans.
The 29-year-old is in line to make his debut in the Scottish Cup fourth round tie after joining the Leith outfit on a deal until the end of the season.
But the surroundings of Stark’s Park could not be anymore different to what he was used to during his three months in the searing heat of South Asia.
The former Leyton Orient marksman played alongside Spanish world cup winner Carlos Marchena for Kerala Blasters, while the likes of Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos and Frenchman Nicolas Anelka were also involved in the Indian Super League.
But Dagnall admits he is just as keen to make his mark back in ‘normal’ football with Hibs.
Dagnall said: “India was brilliant. I enjoyed my three months over there.
“It’s a completely different style of football to anywhere else in the world. The fans were crazy, so passionate.
“If you went out in the street you’d be there for over an hour, everyone wants a selfie taken with you. Everyone gets their phones out and snaps away at you constantly.
“And at our games we were getting 60,000 and 70,00 fans. They were just crazy. I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like our first home game.
“I went out a couple of hours before kick-off, as you do, to look at the pitch and the stadium was full – 60,000 with drums and it was like a carnival atmosphere.
“It was non-stop from two hours before kick off until the game had finished.
“They also like their marquee players, their big names, and there was Roberto Carlos, Nicolas Anelka, John Arne Riise.
“My manager was Peter Taylor and our marquee player was Carlos Marchena, who won the World Cup and European Championships with Spain. There was Florent Malouda, Elano – there were a lot of big names.
“I do miss the weather, I’m not going to lie. We played our games in 70 degree heat over there and it’s not stopped raining since I got here two weeks ago.
“But it’s over now and I’m back to normal football.”
Dagnall knows he has a battle on his hands to get into the Hibs starting line-up after his arrival took head coach Alan Stubbs’ attacking options to ten.
Jason Cummings, Dom Malonga, Farid El Alagui, Martin Boyle, James Keatings, Islam Feruz, Henri Anier are listed as strikers on the official squad list on the club’s website, and that’s not taking into account Jamie Insall, who is on loan at East Fife, nor the injured Danny Handling.
Liverpudlian Dagnall, who has also turned out for Tranmere, Rochdale and Barnsley, added: “I didn’t look at the website, that’s a mistake. I should have done that.
“There’s nothing I can do now. I’ve signed. It’s competition for places and I’ve got to crack on and try and get in the team.
“Hopefully I will get my chance in the team at the weekend.
“I’m small but I like to get in behind and cause havoc. I’ll work my socks off and hopefully grab a few goals.”