Away From The Numbers

Greig McDonald Interview

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Born on May 12th 1982 in Dunfermline, Greig McDonald started his professional football career on the books of his home town team. He unfortunately didn't break in to the first team though and was released at the end of the 2001/2002 season, without having made an appearance for them.

He joined Brechin City for the 2002/2003 campaign, but failing to see his potential he only made one appearance for the Glebe Park side, before again being released in the transfer window, as he wasn't figuring in their plans.

Brechin's loss was certainly East Fife's gain and Greig joined the Fife in February 2003, just in the time to witness the eventful end to our 2002/2003 promotion campaign. Featuring on the bench for a few games in our run in, Greig made his East Fife debut in the penultimate game of the season, coming on for John Allison after 68 minutes in the 4-0 victory against East Stirling at Firs Park on May 3rd 2003. Although he only made one appearance for us in that memorable season, his fortunes were about to change and he was soon to become a first team regular and fan favourite.

Greig became a regular in the Fife first team for the 2003/2004 campaign and opened his goalscoring account for the black and gold with two goals against Burntisland Shipyard in the 3-0 Fife Cup win on July 22nd. This was just to be a taster of things to come that season, with Greig notching up 40 appearances (34 League, 4 Scottish Cup, 1 League Cup, 1 Bells Cup) and becoming second top goalscorer for the season with 9 League goals. Not bad for someone who was signed as a defender!

Greig made the central midfield position his own, before dropping back to centre half for a spell, and his class was one of the shining lights in a dark relegation season. His talents were attracting interest from outside and rumours abounded of a move to Forfar in the close season. Thankfully this move did not materialise and Greig stayed at Bayview and became Club Captain in the summer.

Although this season hasn't turned out as hoped for both the Club and Greig personally following injury problems, he's back as a regular in the team again and raring to recapture his top form.

Greig kindly took time out recently to talk to AFTN and here's what he had to say:


AFTN: WHEN YOU WERE AT SCHOOL DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO BE A FOOTBALLER?

GM: Yes.

HOW DID YOU END UP AT DUNFERMLINE?

I trained with Dunfermline from an early age once or twice a week but when I was 16 I went to Leeds for a few trials, unfortunately that didn't work out but when I got back home Bert Paton asked me sign YTS.

WHEN DUNFERMLINE RELEASED YOU, DID IT MAKE YOU DISILLUSIONED WITH FOOTBALL OR MORE DETERMINED TO MAKE IT?

At first determined to make it, then I went to Brechin and that didn't work out either so at that time I was pretty disillusioned by the game. I was out of football for about two months until joining East Fife.

DID YOU EVER THINK ABOUT JACKING IT IN?

I would be lying I said No but my family were great and encouraged me to continue. After all better players than me have been released from teams and now I can try to prove them wrong.

Henry Morris - East Fife Legend
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO EAST FIFE?

My old School football teacher Hamish Ferguson contacted Jim Moffat and the gaffer asked me along to training, I played in a trial and he offered me a deal until the end of the promotion winning season. I owe Hamish a lot if it wasn't for him I would probably be playing Junior football.

PROMOTION ASIDE, WHAT'S BEEN THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR BAYVIEW CAREER SO FAR?

Winning the Player of the Year awards last year, as that made up for the disappointment of leaving Brechin and being out of Football for a while. Just a pity we got relegated though.

WILL THE PROMOTION DAY LIVE LONG IN YOUR MEMORIES?

Although I was at the club when they won promotion I hadn't really contributed to it but I could see what it meant to the boys, the Manager and the fans. I'll also remember it because the place went crazy when Dukes scored.

RELEGATION WAS OBVIOUSLY ONE OF THE LOW LIGHTS, WHAT DO YOU THINK WENT WRONG?

Simple, we didn't score enough goals. We had the third best defensive record in the league but unfortunately we couldn't score as well as we defended.

YOU WERE LINKED WITH FORFAR PRE-SEASON, BUT STAYED AT BAYVIEW AND WAS MADE CLUB CAPTAIN. YOU HAPPY WITH HOW THINGS HAVE TURNED OUT?

There were links with Forfar but to be honest the first I knew was when I read it in the Courier. I enjoy playing for East Fife and to be made Captain was a great honour.

YOU'VE BEEN UNLUCKY WITH INJURIES, YOU BACK TO 100% NOW?

I missed ten games with my knee injury and it was a nightmare, I was kicking every ball and dying to be involved but I suppose that happens in football. I picked up a bad one against Montrose a few weeks ago, the boys stud went through my boot and into my foot. Thankfully nothing was broken and it was just a case of waiting for the swelling to go down and taping up the cut. Our physio Pud has been great and without his help I would have missed more games, hopefully now I can play regularly for the remainder of the season.

YOUR TIME AT BAYVIEW HAS SEEN YOU BOTH IN CENTRAL DEFENCE AND CENTRAL MIDFIELD AND PLAYED REALLY WELL IN BOTH. WHAT POSITION DO YOU PREFER?

Greig McDonald As A Candy Cane

I'm probably a better defender than I am a midfielder, as that's where I played during my apprenticeship, but I like to get in the box and try to get my name on the score sheet.

WELL YOUR GOALSCORING RECORD'S NOT BEEN BAD! WHAT'S BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE GOAL SO FAR?

My second against Huntly as it was late on in the game and helped set up the Dunfermline match. Also because I'd been injured for a while and to come back and score a hat-trick was great.

SINCE WE'RE STARTING TO ASK YOU SOME OF THE MORE TRADITIONAL FOOTBALLER'S QUESTIONS, HERE'S SOME MORE!

WHO'S THE BEST PLAYER YOU'VE PLAYED ALONGSIDE?

Jimmy Nicholl. Although he had stopped playing long before I met him he used to train with us at Dunfermline and you could see why he used to play for Man Utd and Rangers.

AND AGAINST?

Bobby Petta. It was in a reserve game for Dunfermline, at Bayview funnily enough, I was shocked to see his name on the team sheet. I played right back and after it I knew I'd been in a game, he was lightning.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE AND WORST AWAY GROUNDS TO PLAY AT?

Worst would be East Stirling's because the dressing rooms are tiny. Favourite apart from Bayview would be Hampden, no explanation needed.

WHO'S THE DRESSING ROOM JOKER AT BAYVIEW JUST NOW?

We have a few actually it's a great dressing room to be a part of. Gary Kelly and Johnny Mitchell are funny guys and Fairbairn's just mental.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE TERRACING CHANT?

My mates come to the games and they get involved in the singing of 'Mary fae Methilhill' etc. But my favourite is 'My Garden Shed', cracks me up every time.

WE ALSO LIKE TO GET INSIDE PLAYER'S PSYCHES. SEE WHAT MAKES THEM TICK. SO HERE'S A COUPLE OF PSYCHOLOGICAL ONES FOR YOU.

LORD OF THE RINGS OR STAR WARS?

Star Wars

ROCK OR POP?

Rock

INDIAN OR CHINESE?

Chinese

HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL?

Half Full

TOWN OR COUNTRY?

Country

OK, WELL WE DON'T QUITE KNOW WHY WE ASK THIS OR WHAT IT TELLS US, BUT WE'RE NOSEY, SO WE'LL ANALYZE YOUR ANSWERS AND GET BACK TO YOU!

Greig Scores Against The Shire

IN THE MEANTIME, IT'S BACK TO FOOTBALLING MATTERS. WHAT'S YOUR FUTURE ASPIRATIONS IN THE GAME?

To continue enjoying my football. It's no secret I would still like to go back full time and as I'm only 22 I've not given up hope yet but if that doesn't happen then to keep playing and try to be successful for East Fife.


DO YOU HAVE A FINAL MESSAGE FOR THE FIFE FAITHFUL?

Happy New Year, Thanks for the support and hope to see you all at Elgin and our away travels.

HAPPY NEW YEAR BACK TO YOU GREIG FROM ALL AT AFTN. THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME OUT TO CHAT TO US AND ALL THE BEST FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON. LET'S HOPE WE SEE YOU IN AN EAST FIFE JERSEY FOR A LONG TIME TO COME, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE ALSO HOPE YOU GET THE CHANCE TO GO BACK TO FULL TIME AND PLAY AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL. WE KNOW YOU WILL.