Player Profile: Liam Boyce

Boyce Done Good

“In the next five years I would like to keep scoring goals for Ross County and see the club establish itself as a top six side. I’d also like to cement a place at international level and be starting most games.”


Getting started


“When I was 15 I was playing for loads of teams: youth teams, amateur teams etc. and I got picked up by a semi-professional team – Cliftonville – who play in Belfast in the Northern Ireland Premiership. It went well there and I got into the first team at a young age and scored a lot of goals.

“I got scouted by Werder Bremen in 2010 after scoring a hat trick in a trial game for a second tier team from Germany. That team didn’t sign me but on the last day of the transfer window my agent just told me I was going to the Bundesliga with Bremen and had to be on a plane in an hour!”

 

Bundesliga beckons


“It was a great opportunity but personally my two years in Germany were very difficult because I had to do everything for myself for the first time and had to deal with the language and things like that. It was hard being over there having left home for the first time at 19 and being all by yourself. But though it was a tough time I wouldn’t change it for the world. It really took me to the next level as a player and was one of the best experiences I have had in football.”

 

Home again


“It didn’t work out in Germany so when I came home my confidence was low because I’d been released and not played in a while. On the plus side I was the fittest I had ever been. I went back to Cliftonville but I was only getting a game for the reserves so it was a tough transition and was I thinking: ‘What am I doing here?’

“But things soon started to turn round. I started getting back into the first team and started scoring goals again. By the end of the second season back with Cliftonville I’d scored about 50 goals and had won Player of the Year. That’s when Ross County got in touch.”

 

Destination Dingwall


“I had no hesitation in joining Ross County once I had been over and seen the facilities and the stadium. It was obviously strange when the manager who signed me was replaced because we hadn’t had the best start to the season. But when Jim McIntyre came in and started bringing better players into the club and I saw his training methods I could see that we had a great chance of avoiding relegation and fortunately that’s what we did.”

Liam Boyce in his 1st Season with Ross County

 

Second season for the Staggies


“At the start of this season we have just picked up from where we left off. More good players have come in and we’ve had a great run in the league. On a personal level I’ve been happy with my start, scoring plenty of goals despite missing a few games through injury.

“I think we have been in the top six virtually all of the season and as high as fourth too. Our home form has been good but we’ve maybe been dropping some points away from home, especially before Christmas. But I think recent form has shown that this team can bounce back from setbacks.

“In my first season with the club we’d sometimes concede goals against the run of play and that would stop our momentum. But the team is far more resilient now. The squad we have here never accept defeat.”

 

Team targets


“We want to secure a top six spot as soon as possible and the manager set us targets to have good runs in both cups and that’s certainly been the case in the League Cup – where we recently beat Celtic in the semi-final – and Scottish Cup. Obviously now we are in the League Cup final we want to go out at Hampden on March 13 and win it.

 

Liam Boyce scores for Ross County vs Ayr United

International ambitions


“Personally, when I moved to Ross County and back to full-time football I set myself a target of getting back into the Northern Ireland international squad so to do that and for the team to do so well has been amazing. To be on the park against Greece and part of the team that qualified for the Euros was an unbelievable experience.

“I think playing for my country is one of my greatest achievements and after we qualified for the Euros all my mates – who are huge Northern Ireland fans – were buzzing and I was getting messages from people I grew up with but haven’t seen for ages. That showed what it meant to everyone back home.

“In the next five years I would like to keep scoring goals for Ross County and see the club establish itself as a top six side. I’d also like to cement a place for myself at international level and be starting most games if possible.”

 

Just like home


“The Northern Ireland set-up reminds me a lot of what we have here at Ross County, actually. We know we are one of the smaller footballing nations in Europe the same as we know here that we are one of the smaller clubs in the Ladbrokes Premiership. So we know we have to stick together and fight for each other on the park every Saturday afternoon if we want to achieve anything. I think that’s a key factor in how well we have done this season so far and I’m sure there is a lot more to come from this manager and group of players.”

Friday, February 12, 2016 12:38 PM


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