3 young players discuss their pride and honour at making their first team debuts

Posted : 21st September 2016

During last night’s victory over Donegal Celtic in the County Antrim Shield, the Linfield faithful saw three upcoming stars make their first team debuts for the club.

Cameron Stewart, the 19 year-old summer signing from Crusaders, played the full 90 minutes at the heart of Linfield’s defence and was happy to have made his debut for the club.

“It was such an honour to make my debut for Linfield Football Club, especially at Windsor Park. Linfield is the biggest club in Northern Ireland and I appreciate the gaffer giving me the opportunity to play. I enjoyed every moment of it. It was a great experience. However, the most important thing was to secure a good result and get ourselves in the hat for the next round.”

Ryan Strain also made his debut for Linfield when he replaced Kris Bright with 20 minutes remaining. Strain, or ‘Rooster’ as he is known to some, is a dyed-in-the-wool Linfield fan and certainly made an impression once entering the play as his header was only denied by a superb save from the goalkeeper. The young striker said he was living the dream to pull on the blue shirt last night.

“I have been at Linfield since I was 8 years old. I am a die-hard Linfield fan and rarely ever miss a match, so at only 16 years old it was amazing to make my first team debut. As soon as the gaffer told me to get ready as I was coming on, the blood just drained from me and I got the shivers up my spine. I can honestly say it was the best feeling I've ever had in my whole life to make my debut for the club I love.”

The versatile, athletic and composed Lewis Houston replaced Sean Ward on 77 minutes to make his first team debut. The 18 year-old from Banbridge was over the moon as another Linfield fan who has supported the club all his life. Just like Stewart and Strain, Houston was rewarded for putting in stellar performances consistently for Linfield Swifts.

“Honestly, last night was the best night of my life and something I've dreamt about since Philip Mitchell brought me to Ridgeway when I was 5 and told me one day I would play at Windsor. It was even more special that I was able to make my debut at Windsor Park with all the amazing supporters. I couldn't have got this far without Colie Mcilwrath and Scott Boyd who brought me to Linfield 6/7 years ago and more recently Bryan McCaroll, Alan Dornan and Ian with the Swifts and U19s, I appreciate everything they have done for me. Hopefully, I will get the chance to be with the team again soon, as this will certainly be a night I will never forget.”

Jamie Megarry
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