Marley Redfern admits he owes a lot to Dougie Imrie – but that doesn’t mean he isn’t determined to spoil his return to Hamilton Accies on Saturday.
Imrie will be back at his old stomping ground when the Accies legend and ex-youth coach brings his Morton side to New Douglas Park, looking to maintain his unbeaten start to Championship life as a manager.
Redfern came through the youth ranks at Accies when Imrie and Darian MacKinnon led the club’s under-17s to unprecedented success, going through the entire season undefeated to win the league title and then beating FC Basel in the UEFA Youth League the following season before bowing out to Midtjylland in the second round.
It has proven to be a key moment in Redfern’s development and helped him get to stage now where, still only 19, he’s made 26 first-team appearances for Accies this term and become one of the first names on the team sheet.
And, looking ahead to being reunited with his old mentor, Redfern is keen to get one over on him.
He said: “Dougie was with me for a good two-and-a-half years, from the age of 15 up to 17, so he’s been really big for me in my development during that youth phase.
“I was one of the younger boys in the squad so I didn’t play as much as the older boys, but just bringing him his experience from a first team environment and showing us what you need to make the step up was the most important thing I learned from Dougie.
“I’ve not spoken to him recently but it will be good to see him on the touchline on Saturday.
“It will be a different kind of experience playing against his team.
“Hopefully he doesn’t have the best of days against us on Saturday.
“You could always tell he wanted to move on to management and the ambition he had.
“He did really well at Livingston when he moved there last year and you see the things people say about him. People only have good things to say about him so it was no surprise he went into management.”
Accies are seventh in the Championship and below Ton on goal difference and the sides are meeting for the first time since Ton grabbed a 97th minute equalizer at Cappielow in October last year.
It was a real sickener last time out and one Redfern hopes they can put right, with Accies going into the clash off the back of a strong showing against Arbroath in their last game.
“That 97th minute goal was dreadful for us. It was horrible to take,” Redfern admitted.
“But it’s not just been Morton, it’s happened quite a few times this season so we will be looking to put that to bed.
“If we do take the lead, we need to kill teams off early instead of holding on to a one goal lead.
“Whenever we’ve drawn, we’ve probably been the better team and deserved to win so we want to make sure we convert chances into goals.
“We’ve been playing well and even the game before Arbroath, against Raith, I felt we played really well.
“We didn’t get the result that we needed. A point up there is not bad but three points is what we were aiming for and we should have got it with our play on the park.
“So it’s about trying to kill teams off and get the three points this time.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.