Showgrounds return brings smile back to ‘Cutchy’s face

Gary McCutcheon in action on his return to Ballymena United colours on Saturday. Picture: Press Eye.
Gary McCutcheon in action on his return to Ballymena United colours on Saturday. Picture: Press Eye.

Gary McCutcheon insists a return to Ballymena United was always his first choice after his spell at Crusaders ended in unhappy fashion.

The veteran striker began his second spell at the Showgrounds in familiar goalscoring form, although his 20 yard screamer wasn’t enough to prevent a 4-2 home defeat by Glenavon.

“When Glenn phoned me up and asked me how I was, I said I just wanted to play.

“I could have sat on the bench until the end of the season at Crusaders and played bit parts here and there but I just wanted to get back to playing regularly and playing with a smile on my face.

“The direct style of play didn’t suit me at all so that was why it was time to move on.

“I had a few offers but it was always in my mind if I was going to go anywhere it would be Ballymena because I had a good time here and I felt it was the right place to come and enjoy my football.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the game, apart from the result - it was a good game to play in and probably a good game to watch and I enjoyed my goal.

“I thought it was quite an even game and when we got it back to 3-2 I thought we could maybe nick something but once again we gave away a poor goal.

“You just can’t give away four goals at home and expect to get anything from the game.

“That is down to everybody, defending from the front.

“We had a lot of forward players on and we maybe didn’t work as hard as we should have at our end of the park.

“That’s why it was so disappointing to concede four goals because, overall, I didn’t feel it was a bad performance in terms of the other aspects of the game.”

McCutcheon has only signed until the end of the season, giving the clearest indication yet that he intends to bring the curtain down on his goal-laden career.

“I would say that’s almost certainly the case, although you never say never.

“I have a new career in Scotland to look forward to which will take me in a different direction so it might be time to hang the boots up.”

With McCutcheon cup-tied for United’s forthcoming League Cup final, it means the little striker won’t lack motivation for a last shot at Irish Cup glory as United begin their quest against Crumlin Star this Saturday.

“It would certainly be a great way to go out.

“The aim when you start any cup competition is to win it and to be there in the big final at the end of the year.

“I played against Crumlin Star last season for Crusaders in the same round of the competition and it will be a difficult enough tie. They were physically strong and very busy and I remember it took a late winner for Crusaders to get through.

“It’s only us who have anything to lose - they can come here and give it their all so we will need to be on top of our game,” added Gary.