An Inverness fan’s view of Billy Mckay

Photo courtesy of BBC Sport.,

Photo courtesy of BBC Sport.,

Inverness Caledonian Thistle souces today announced  that Billy McKay is due to have a medical tomorrow in the finalisation of a move to Wigan Athletic. Can Mckay become that goalscoring striker that Latics have sought for so long?

The 27 year old Billy Mckay was born in Corby and began his football career in the Leicester City academy. Despite a good goalscoring record at youth and reserve team levels he did not make a first team appearance and joined Northampton Town at the age of 20. He was to make 74 appearances for the Cobblers, scoring 13 goals over two seasons.

In summer of 2011 Mckay went to Inverness to join Caley Thistle and play in the Scottish Premier League. In his first season he only scored 3 goals in 22 league games, but after that he got better and better. He played in all the 38 league games for the next two seasons, scoring 22 goals in 2012-13 and 18 in 2013-14. He has continued in goalscoring form this season, notching 10 in the 23 league games so far.

Mckay has made 9 appearances for Northern Ireland since making his debut in February 2013.

In order to find out more about Mckay’s time at Inverness we reached out on twitter to Lawrie (alias @Nareystoepoker). Lawrie says he actually went to watch Latics three times in the Premier league days and enjoyed each visit.

Here is over to Lawrie:

Will Billy Mckay (it’s a small ‘k’, by the way) be a success at Wigan Athletic?  That depends on how much of a step up going from the Scottish Premiership to the English Championship is.  But the Latics have signed one of the best strikers in Scottish football; Mckay has scored 59 goals in the last two and a half seasons, more than anyone else in our top flight during that period.

 I wouldn’t have said that in the summer of 2012, however.  His first season in the Highlands after joining from Northampton Town was pretty unimpressive, though not helped by an injury that wrecked his pre-season.  Once he had broken into the team, he managed just three goals in the entire campaign, and at one point went sixteen games without scoring.  The decision by manager Terry Butcher to give him a two year deal that summer was a surprise at the time, but he clearly knew something we didn’t, as 2012-13 saw him hit the goal trail spectacularly.

 The crucial difference was a dramatic increase in the quality of service he was getting.  After all, he’s only 5ft 7in, and we were playing him as a lone striker; pumping high balls up to him is no use.  Whilst his link-up play in deeper areas is decent enough, there’s no question that Mckay is at his best when he is in the final third and facing goal.  His movement off the ball is terrific, with a speed of thought matched by a rapid acceleration over 5-10 metres.  This allows him to shake off his marker, and is why, despite his size, he still manages to score with his head every so often, generally having found a gap between defenders.

 Like all but the most elite of strikers, Mckay is confidence-dependent; he is prone to dips in form which inevitably lead to droughts.  His attitude remains excellent during these periods, and his work-rate will be as high as ever, but his finishing, especially in one-on-ones, will become erratic.  He needs his manager to stick by him in these periods; he’s played in every league match for three years (which also tells you something about his durability).
 
A lot of players have left Scottish football for the English Championship in recent years; some have succeeded, but many have failed.  Will Mckay make the cut?  My worry is that the step up in quality will be too big.  Our league is full of big, lumbering centre backs that the Northern Irishman could leave for dead, but now he’ll be up against guys who are just as strong, but can match his pace; they might also be more tuned to his off-the-ball movement.  But he’s certainly earned the right to give it a shot, and he leaves Inverness with our best wishes.
 

Don Cowie – a Cardiff City fan’s view

 

 

Cowie

With a shortage of midfield players available for the start of the season Uwe Rosler has moved wisely and snapped up Don Cowie from Cardiff City. Cowie’s contract had expired and Cardiff had made a new offer, but Cowie chose to join Latics.

On signing Cowie, Rosler remarked that “Don also played over 20 games last season in the Premier League; he’s 31 but he’s an extremely professional person and I’ve known about him for quite some time. From his training regime to the way he lives and breathes football he has the attributes to allow him to play football until his late 30’s. I think he knows the position, he has the ability to play a high-pressing game and an attacking forward game and I think he will add experience, reliability, a technical ability where all our players have to be so I look forward to working with him.

The 31 year old Cowie was born in Inverness and made his debut for Ross County as a 17 year old after coming through their youth system. Cowie was to go on to become captain for the Dingwall club, making 160 appearances, before joining Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2007. He adjusted quickly to the higher level of the SPL and was top scorer and Player of the Year in his first season at Inverness.

After two seasons at Inverness, Cowie signed for Watford in July 2009, under the management of Malky Mackay. He made 88 appearances for the Hornets, scoring 9 goals. When Mackay moved on to Cardiff he signed Cowie (and Andrew Taylor) for the Welsh club. From 2011-14 Cowie made 82 appearances for Cardiff, scoring 6 goals. Like Taylor, Cowie played in the League Cup final for the Bluebirds in 2012, when they were beaten on penalties by Liverpool. Cowie has been capped 10 times by Scotland.

In order to learn more about Taylor’s time at Cardiff we have one more reached out to Benjamin James of the View from the Ninian fan site.

Here’s over to Benjamin.

Don Cowie was often seen as Malky’s son at Cardiff; no matter how well he was playing, he always got a game. But I think that is unfair to Don Cowie. He came in on a free and was absolutely committed to Cardiff from day one.

A player who can play all along the midfield, his biggest asset is his fitness. He genuinely doesn’t stop running and leaves everything on the pitch. He does pitch in with assists and the odd goal but his work rate is phenomenal. When we got the prem, I didn’t expect him to feature much but he played a big role in some of our biggest wins; particularly in the home win over Man City.

I’m sad to see him go. Never one to shirk or hide away and has a great cross on him. Thought he would be a big player for us next year but, instead, he will be a big player for Wigan instead.


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