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Question of the Week
How long before new manager arrives?
Paul Gaughan - Another View
By: Tony Hamilton
PAUL Gaughan has been selected to have a trial with the Mariners. Here is a recent interview with him from the Morton official site. It will, at least, show a little more about him.
Paul Gaughan has seen a lot in his short professional career. At the young age of twenty-three he already has two Championship medals. From youth spells at Bolton, Nottingham Forrest and Rangers, he is here now at Morton. I met up with Paul to talk about his brotherly rivalry, difficult times at Hamilton and of course THAT nickname.
Hi Paul. You're nickname at the club is Gucci. How did that come about?
My nickname has been Gucci for a long time now. When I was 14 I was playing for my local side and I had just been given a pair of Gucci boxer shorts by my brother as a present. I wore them to training and some of the boys picked up on it. Ever since then it's just stuck. Everyone calls me Gucci now.
How did you get involved with football?
My brothers had always played football down the park in Bishopbriggs so I started going with them. My dad is mental for football so we were always playing or watching it. As I got older I started playing for a side called West Park United. We were one of the best sides in the area and we won a lot of trophies. Every year it was between us and another side called Lenzie for the league and thankfully we won most of the time.
You did your YTS (Youth Training Scheme) at Hamilton. Why did you choose Hamilton?
I was actually supposed to go down south. My older brothers both went down south to Ipswich and Wimbledon but both came home after a few years, as they were homesick. Every school holiday I'd go down south and train with teams like Bolton and Nottingham Forrest. I had agreed to sign for Crystal Palace but I changed my mind at the last minute. I could've given it a shot but I decided not to go. I don't have any regrets though. Hamilton heard this and the manager at that time, Sandy Clark phoned my dad and invited me down there. It was between Hamilton or Rangers but I thought I'd have a better chance of first-team football at Hamilton.
You played just short of 100 games for Hamilton. Are there any matches that stand out in particular?
My first team debut is the one game that really stands out. I'd been a sub for a couple of weeks when out of the blue I was told I was starting a game away at Montrose. I was really nervous but I played well, Hamilton won and we kept a clean sheet. It was a great start to my Accies and professional career.
Hamilton won the Third Division title in 2001. How much of an achievement was that?
Well we'd been relegated the season before so it was great for the club to go back up within one season. It was a long hard season but we were a good side and deserved it overall. We had players like Michael Moore and David MacFarlane who were excellent for us. To experience a Championship win whilst I was so young was great.
At the end of that season you were voted Player of the Year. What did that mean to you?
It was a bit strange. I certainly didn't expect it. Those kind of awards normally go to the strikers or midfielders. For me to win as a centre back was a surprise. I had a really consistent season and we had an excellent back four, which played almost all season together. It was an excellent way to round off a great season.
There were many problems behind the scenes at Hamilton whilst you were there. Was that hard for the players to concentrate on their job?
It was difficult but I felt worst for the older players. I was still living with my parents so not getting paid wasn't too bad for me. I didn't have many serious ties. The chairman was honest with us but that wasn't always enough. There were weeks when we weren't paid and eventually we had a strike over the matter. We were deducted 15 points which eventually got us relegated. The players just had to get on with it.
Did it bring the players closer together?
It definitely bought the players closer as we were all in it together. We had lots of meetings but the situation just turned into a farce. We were all training separately so it was all a bit of a hassle and it wasn't helping the side on the pitch. I was glad in the end to get away and come to a more stable club.
Your older brother Kevin plays for Stenhousemuir. Is it nice to be able to talk to one another about your football?
It definitely helps, as we tend to give each other advice on players and teams. They're not doing very well at the moment but Kevin is playing well. It's strange that we're both central defenders as we were both midfielders when we were younger. We've only ever played against each other once and his team won with the last kick of the ball. I wasn't happy but hopefully we'll play again soon and I'll get revenge.
How did your move to Morton come about?
I was still at Hamilton and I had a year left on my contract. The board basically said that if any clubs came in for us then we were free to move on without any fees having to be paid. I'd heard nothing so I was preparing myself for another season when my agent called and said Morton were interested. I met up with Dave McPherson and he sold me on the move. I was looking for assurances for the future and he put my mind at ease. I was delighted to sign.
You were a regular last season after signing. How much of a difference did changing the manager and bringing in John McCormack make to the club?
In hindsight it turned out to make a big difference. Before the Gaffer came in we were struggling to be consistent and we only played well for short spells in matches. The manager came in and made a big difference to the club. We managed a couple of wins, which got the confidence up between the players. We got there in the end and it is to the credit of the players and the manager preaching teamwork that we achieved what we did.
What was it like to win your second Championship at the age of 22?
It was one of the best feelings ever. When I won my first Championship I never really savoured it and failed to take it all in. When we won the league last season I was very focused on the task in hand. I drove down that day with Eddie Annand and Robbie Henderson and we were amazed by the crowd. It just made us even more determined to win the game. When the final whistle went it was an amazing feeling that I'll never forget.
Who are your closest friends in football?
I travel through with Robbie Henderson and we get on well. All the lads get on well at the club though. Outside of Morton, I'm good friends with Stranraer's Michael Moore. We speak on the phone a lot and we see each other socially.
You've struggled to get into the team this season since the arrival of Stewart Greacen. How frustrating has it been for you?
It has been very frustrating, as obviously you want to play every week. However the team has been doing the business so you can't have much of an argument. I need to be patient and make sure that when I get my chance I take it with both hands. I'm training hard and with the reserve team I can keep my fitness levels high so that I'm ready for first team action.
What are your aims for the rest of this season?
As a club we want to win the league. We're twelve points ahead at the moment but we need to stay focused and keep playing the way we are. As for myself, I have to stay injury free and look to take any chances I get. As long as I'm playing well then my chance will come.
Thanks Paul and all the best for the future.
(reproduced, with permission, from the Morton official site http://www.gmfc.net)
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