Ex-Celtic midfielder aims to get back to enjoying football at East Kilbride


Former Celtic midfielder Ross McLaughlin has four weeks to prove to East Kilbride that he’s worth a contract – after landing a short term deal with the help of Hoops youth coach Darren O’Dea.

The 22-year-old was riding high at Celtic Park and was part of a team that beat rivals Rangers 3-2 to win the 2019 Glasgow Cup, but injuries plagued him at the club, including a cruciate ligament injury in 2016 that kept him out for 18 months.

McLaughlin has been out of football for a while, though he had a spell in the Lowland League with East Stirlingshire, and the playmaker has now landed at K-Park, where he hopes to earn a longer deal.

McLaughlin made his debut in the 5-3 penalty shoot-out defeat to Peterhead, after holding the League One side to a 2-2 draw in the Scottish Cup fourth round.

He said: “I’m absolutely buzzing with the move to East Kilbride – it’s just getting back in to football and I’m looking forward to getting some more game-time.

“I won the 2019 Glasgow Cup with Celtic and, looking back, it was probably one of my best moments, to be honest.

“Hopefully I can get some more experiences like that of winning cups and things like that – it was one I will always remember.

“Towards the end of my period of being with Celtic I had a couple of injuries, which set me back quite a bit, but I’m getting over them and I’m looking all right now.

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“It’s really good to be back playing and I’m enjoying it.

“I’ve only trained a few times and the first game was against Peterhead there, so they’re a couple of higher leagues, but we dealt with it quite well.

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“It was unfortunate in the end to go out like that, but to take a team like Peterhead all the way showed how good a group of boys we’ve got.

“We’re in a good position in the table, so it’s looking like it’s going to be a decent end to the season.”

McLaughlin says it’s sometimes about who you know in football, as it was a friend with a connection to a Kilby coach who asked about a trial at K-Park.

Boss Chris Aitken then got on the phone to Darren O’Dea – who had a spell at K-Park in 2019 – received a glowing reference and brought him in.

“Whatever Darren said was good, because the manager has taken that on board, and signed me,” said McLaughlin.

Aitken has given McLaughlin a four-week deal at K-Park
Aitken has given McLaughlin a four-week deal at K-Park

“I really just need to get back in, enjoy my football and get some game-time in the park.

“I’m just looking forward to playing again and enjoying it again – that’s it.

“It’s who you know these days, so through a friend of mine who knew one of the coaches, he sent him a text and asked if I was able to come in.

“I went in a couple of times for training, and then that was me.

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“We have Vale of Leithen this weekend so I want to get in and about that, get some game-time and I’m looking forward to it.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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